Cable TV

'Get a life' with Discovery Travel and Living

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MUMBAI: Lifestyle is no longer the uncharted frontier on television. Discovery Travel and Living launched in October 2004, amidst speculation that a 24 hour lifestyle channel will never take off with Indian audiences, the ratings have consistently proved otherwise. The competition may gripe all they want, but the channel shows no signs of faltering.

Today, with innumerable choices of lifestyle destinations, brands, gadgets, speciality cuisine restaurants available on television at a click of the remote, the viewer's profile has changed to being upwardly mobile. These changes have resulted in increasing the viewer's desire for international lifestyle content. And, it is here that Discovery Travel and Living has scored.
Discovery Travel and Living has managed to keep ahead of its competition with its wide array of shows. It has managed to gain traction with audiences in all age groups. This season's Theme Week series on primetime has only added to the growing popularity of the channel.

When a television channel puts a home-decorating show in prime time, it's clear that lifestyle programming has earned a seat at the table. The channel's programming has given viewers an alternative to soaps and movies. The fact that lifestyle-oriented programmes on travel, food, makeovers and fashion has gained viewership is visible with news channels and regional language channels airing lifestyle oriented blocks.

With a view to showcase a variety of shows on various cultures, traditions, cuisines, people and personas, nature, fun and frolic, Discovery Travel and Living have come up with a mix of shows with good content.

Globe Trekker host Justine Shapiro during Trinidad's annual Carnival on the show's Great Festivals episode

The hit TV documentary series American Chopper has fans asking for more. All about the goings-on behind the scenes at Orange County Choppers, a custom motorcycle fabrication company located in Rock Tavern, New York, American Chopper also shows the interplay between the Teutels, Paul Sr. and Jr., as they create motorcycles as works of art. So also, shows featuring international celebrity chefs like Keith Floyd, Kylie Kwong and Madhur Jaffrey have done well season after season.

Another show that appeals to all age groups is Biker Build off, where two builders are competing. They are given a set time to come up with a brand new design for a chopper, build it and ride it to the contest destination, which is normally a motor show. The people present at the motor show judge the winning bike. There are a couple of India-centric shows also, like Floyds India, Cooking with Madhur Jaffery and the recently aired Incredible India series.

An aggressive rollout of the channel is an important element of this year's strategy to lure more viewers. The channel started this year with a focus of promoting appointment viewing in the prime time band. It has also commissioned two series of Indian programming. As reported earlier in Indiantelevision.com, Discovery Networks India vice president- Lifestyle Networks Aditya Tripathi said, "We hope to air our first commission in the second or third quarter of 2006."

"We have signed advertisers such as L'Oreal, Motorola, Diet Pepsi, Nokia, Nestle Kit Kat and Wrigley's for various theme weeks. More deals are being negotiated. New initiatives are being promoted through print advertising and on-air promotions," said Tripathi.

Beach Week host Samantha Brown

The lifestyle-centric channel is not planning to sit back on its performance. Discovery Travel and Living's programming mix of original shows and series, off-network acquisitions and library exploitation continues to pay royal dividends to parent company Discovery. Looking ahead, the channel will air recently acquired BBC's lifestyle titles like Friends for Dinner and Jeremy Clarkson Meets The Neighbours.

It is tougher to get recognized on general entertainment channels, but viewers find premium programming wherever it is. It is celebratory time at Discovery Travel and Living, with the channel hosting a special party today (17 March) at the Park Hyatt at Goa. Tagged ' Get a Life', it offers an exclusive experience for everyone who matter in the television industry, media, marketing, distribution and the team of employees who work with the channel. Promising to be an event that would be talked of in the days to come, it has been planned keeping the overall theme of the brand. And why not, lifestyle is only getting bigger on television.

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