Television

Discovery US forms Animal Planet media enterprises

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MUMBAI: US media firm Discovery has formed an integrated multi-platform business called Animal Planet media enterprises.

It has also acquired two companies in the pet industry -- Petfinder.com and PetsIncredible.

Discovery says that both businesses will expand the portfolio of services and content for the newly formed Animal Planet Media Enterprises.

Petfinder.com facilitates pet adoption and works through animal shelters and rescue groups across North America. PetsIncredible produces and distributes pet-training videos and includes Web service PetVideo.com. Both companies immediately will be integrated into Animal Planet Media Enterprises in a seamless transition for users and customers of both products and services.

Discovery adds that the new Animal Planet firm marks the first time that animal lovers and pet owners will have access to a centralised online, television and mobile community for research tools, expert advice, local resources, customized products and services, do-it-yourself projects and user-generated and interactive content.

The new business unit also includes the Animal Planet television network -- celebrating its 10th anniversary this year -- online assets including http://www.animalplanet.com , the 24/7 broadband channel, Animal Planet Beyond, and other media platforms including a robust Video-on- Demand (VOD) service, mobile content and merchandise extensions.

Discovery founder and chairman John Hendricks says, "Animal Planet Media Enterprises will be the leader in providing a trusted community where consumers of all ages can enjoy the best content, products and services on pets and animals of all kinds. The depth and breadth of Animal Planet's reach across the country and its powerful status as a beloved and trusted brand will enable us to leverage our unparalleled animal video archive, expertise and resources across a range of high-growth media platforms."

Animal Planet executive VP, GM Maureen Smith, will expand her duties to include leadership of Animal Planet Media Enterprises. She says, "This acquisition and reorganization solidifies our place as the leading information provider for all things animal, with a primary focus on media and products for people and their pets. I am thrilled to welcome the employees, passion and creativity of both PetFinder.com and PetsIncredible to the Animal Planet family."

With the acquisition of Petfinder.com and PetsIncredible, Animal Planet Media Enterprises will now have a portfolio of pet-centric platforms to service pet parents through out all stages of life with their pets -- from the initial thought of adoption and selection of the right pet (Petfinder.com), to ensuring that the first few years together are as happy and rewarding as possible (PetsIncredible training videos), to celebrating a lifetime relationship with this special family member (animalplanet.com).

Petfinder.com, founded in 1996 claims to be is the largest searchable database of adoptable pets on the Web. Facilitating over 10 million adoptions in the last 10 years and averaging over 120 million page views a month, Petfinder.com visitors can currently meet nearly 230,000 adoptable pets from over 10,000 animal shelters and rescue groups across the US, Canada and Mexico. The site also helps educate new adopters about pet health, behaviour and care through its resource library and discussion forums.

Petfinder.com uses the Internet to increase public awareness of the availability of adoptable pets and the effectiveness of pet adoption programmes across North America in order to eliminate the euthanasia of adoptable pets. The company has 25 US-based employees and is based in Pittstown, New Jersey. Petfinder.com is free to both visitors and to its animal placement organisation members due to its generous sponsors.

PetsIncredible enhances the relationship of families and their pets by providing simple and easy to use pet-friendly training techniques to address the most common behaviour issues. Distributed on DVD via shelters, veterinarian offices, and directly to consumers, PetsIncredible's easy-to-follow, positive reinforcement training program, helps integrate new pets into the family and reduce shelter adoption returns.

In addition, Petvideo.com, launched in partnership with Petfinder.com this summer, is an interactive broadband video service featuring 200 quick and easy training videos, user generated content and videos of adoptable shelter pets.

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