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Discovery launching Hindi GEC in Q4, re-brands ID as Discovery Jeet

MUMBAI: GEC seems to be the new Discovery. It's just been three months into the launch of DSport, a new sports channel from the network, and Discovery Communication plans to roll out  an entertainment channel in India -- Discovery Jeet. The channel, which (already) means triumph in Hindi, is slated for opening in Q4.

“The core thought behind the channel and the way we are defining the brand purpose is: "I can do anything", and so it's a feeling of energy and inspiration. In the end, people will take away that feeling from our programming. Jeet is good name to describe the feeling of victory, inspiration and energy,” Discovery Network Asia Pacific south Asia SVP and GM Karan Bajaj told www.indiantelevision.com

This is however not the maiden time Discovery Communication India has entered into the Hindi entertainment space. ID (Investigation Discovery) used to offer compelling true stories of investigation, crime and suspense, promising and intriguing twists and turns that culminate into thrilling conclusions of stories. The network has rebranded its existing channel ID as Discovery Jeet.  “We are transforming ID into Discovery Jeet. We are keeping the same channel feed and just creating a new proposition, informed Bajaj. 

Discovery Networks Asia Pacific president and MD Arthur Bastings elaborated on the importance  of this evolutionary step and leveraging new ways to extend the reach and relevance of Discovery across the subcontinent. “The rebranding of general entertainment with Jeet redefines how Discovery will connect and interact with the new young audience across the heartlands of India. Jeet is fun, relatable, and exciting, and brings to life the captivating, real stories of India’s own in a manner that was never seen before.”

The rebranded channel will be the flagship for the network’s ambitious investment into original local productions in India, super serving superfans and nurturing communities around a range of programme genres including true crime investigations, small-town heroes and gritty survival. “We are borrowing the best of the Discovery’s meaning and purpose, and making it into a local version which is highly entertaining and formated in a way like the entertaining stories are done in India -- larger-than-life, big conflicts, drama and attention," Bajaj added.

Discovery is scaling up investment for the sake of over 200 hours of local original content, which will premiere on the rebranded channel. Targeting the young male audience, (not just in the metros, but also in Tier II and Tier III cities) Discovery Jeet  will be a highly-charged  entertainment  channel, immersing  viewers  in a world of gripping  stories, heroic characters and tales of achievement. 

Bajaj informed, “If we look at the last 10 years, we haven't done more than 7-8 hours of original programming a year. Now, we are planning to launch this fall with 200 original hours of content. So, it's like a 20-22 times increase of original content in a quarter. It is a very significant move that required us to set up a local content production infrastructure."

“When we were commissioning the content, we were clear that would only allow meaningful and purposeful content. And, we also planned only to have larger-than-life stories. It's not a documentary-based channel, it's a storytelling channel,” he asserted.

Discovery Jeet will hit screens later this year with a vibrant programming lineup that will include, Swami Baba Ramdev: The Untold Story, a scripted biopic series tracing Swami  Baba  Ramdev’s  fascinating  and  inspirational   journey  from  a  life  of  anonymity  to  a national  icon, international cult figure and now business mogul, Saragarhi - India’s Bravest Day, a large-scale, action-packed, scripted drama series about one of the greatest, yet largely uncelebrated, last stands in the Indian military history, Gabru: The Birth of Hip Hop, a scripted series on the Rap & Hip Hop revolution that has taken India by storm, from the far ends of Punjab to the slums of Mumbai, Gangs of Mumbai,  a scripted series on the colourful, larger-than-life characters from  the thriving underworld of India’s maximum city.

“The overall thought is purpose-driven entertainment, blurring the lines between fact and fiction. So, if I look at the launch shows, we have -- Baba Ramdev, Gangs of Mumbai and Gabru. It's mounted as a GEC show. It will be a half-an-hour 65-episode Monday to Friday show. The prime time will be 7-11pm, and it will have two hours of original programming," Bajaj said.

Production houses such as Contiloe Production and Ajay Devgn Production will be producing Discovery shows. Film producers such as Rohan Sippy is directing a show named "Khan, Number one crime hunter."

Discovery is generally known for its factual entertainment. Speaking about why the rebranded GEC will not impact the mother channel, Bajaj explained, “Discovery will remain the same, and we are launching Discovery Jeet. The brand philosophy of Discovery is ‘Life without limits’, which is different from Jeet. The new one is a consumer product model, an extension of a mega brand. Discovery is targeted for the metros and Tier I consumers and who is globally savvy whereas Discovery Jeet is for the mass market," Bajaj elucidated.

He further added, “Our brands penetrate well. Discovery will retain its freshness, we are not taking content away. Jeet will be a fresh and exciting proposition. We plan to retain our dominance as the infotainment leader. The overall quality is getting better from the global pipeline although Jeet will a homegrown proposition.”

Speaking about the execution of the plan, he said, “We have been unforgiving in terms of the nature of storytelling and the production quality. The success rate of television content is 20 to 25 per cent. There is no proven model that a particular type of content will always work, and we are trying a new and disruptive model. Based on our research, we believe, this country is hungry for dreams and inspiration, and Discovery Jeet is proposing just that. It's as mainstream a channel as any other. At a content level, we will offer a powerful story experience that touches your heart.” 

The channel will be launched in SD feed followed by HD feed, going forward.  The network will be available across DTH and cable platforms. With an aggressive market plan, the channel will be distributed widely  across 100-million plus households. 

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