Discovery Channel - Discovering India

"Discovery India has to rework its brand positioning. We've to reorient our image. Science and history programs will be publicised more." - Kiran Karnik, Former MD – Discovery Channel, India, in 1998. "Discovery is in the infotainment genre while National Geographic is all about wildlife." - Pio Linhares, Media Supervisor, HTA, in 2001. "The biggest challenge is to get Discovery out of the niche arena. We plan to position Discovery in the mainstream market. Because it is a mainstream channel" - Deepak Shourie, MD, Discovery Channel India, in 2001.

Reaching Out to Indian Viewers
In October 2002, readers of 'India Toda4,' a popular weekly magazine in India were surprised to receive a program guide of Discovery Channel (Discovery) along with the magazine. The program guide provided information on Discovery's programs for the coming quarter. Along with programming information, it provided a program summary. The program guide was in the form of booklet that could be pulled out from the magazine and retained by the consumer. This move was aimed at familiarizing Indian viewers with Discovery. According to channel sources, a market research survey revealed that while viewers loved to watch Discovery; they were not aware of its programs and their broadcast timings. Sanjay Raina (Raina), Associate Director, Marketing, said, "The booklet is laid out in an easy-to-use manner, so that consumers can plan their viewing on Discovery by flipping through its pages and locating the different time bands."5 Discovery Channel - Discovering India - Next Page >>> 1] Interview with Kiran Karnik,, August 14, 1998.

2] National Geographic Inches Ahead of Discovery,, March 16,

. However. www. Cable Educational Network Inc. October 4. Inc (DCI). 2001 4] India Today is one of the leading current affairs magazines in India. In 1987.2001 3] Interview with Deepak Shourie. its competitor. as National Geographic Channel (NGC). << Previous Reaching Out to Indian Viewers Contd. . Discovery was confident about its performance in India and said that it did not regard NGC as its competitor. launched Discovery channel in USA. www. In early 2003. In the following year. Under this arrangement. civilization Cox Cable Communications Inc.. Discovery also changed its programming content and announced a new programming strategy for its Indian viewers. as the programming content of NGC was different from that of Discovery. Background In 1985. 5] Discovery Banks On Innovation to Announce Its Programming Line Up.. Though Discovery's changed programming strategy was successful (it increased its viewership from 13 million in 1999 to 21 million in 2001). DCI launched its programs in a few Asian countries. science. United Cable Television Corp. (Refer Exhibit I). it announced a distribution tie-up with Sony Entertainment Television (SET) India Limited. In 1994.agencyfaqs. Discovery offered nonfiction programs that gave quality insights into matters related to history. founded by John Hendricks. September 3. had also changed its programming strategy to increase viewership. Discovery launched television's first interactive video7 – The Discovery Interactive Library. In 1990. nature. this would help Discovery increase its viewer base from 21 million homes to 29 million homes. invested in the company in 1986..agencyfaqs. and TeleCommunications Inc.. Cable Educational Network Inc's name was changed to Discovery Communications. analysts expressed doubts about the channel's continued viewership growth in India. Discovery would be made available by SET along with its other channels. the channel's subscription increased to seven million in the US. Due to the increasing popularity of the channel. In its first year of operations itself. 2002. Discovery entered into an agreement with Mitsubishi Corporation6 to telecast Discovery programs in Japan. According to channel sources.

. Discovery's subscription increased to 101. Discovery Channel . has a very diverse business portfolio. In the same year.Discovering India << Previous Background Contd. the choice of video shown. Austria and Switzerland.Discovering India . the user must be provided an opportunity to give the program that controls the video input that would determine what would be shown next. must affect the user's future choices.4 million households around the world. in turn. This means that the application does not simply feed the user clips of video while the user sits idly by and watches what is presented. Metals. according to Total Research's EquiTrend study. a Japanese company. In 1996. which aired programs based on animals and the environments in which they lived. DCI launched Discovery channel in Brazil in Portuguese language and entered Europe by launching its channel in Germany.000 products by 2002. affects the user's future choices. Machinery. 7] A video application is interactive if the user influences the flow of the video and that influence. By the end of 1996.8 Discovery was the number 1 media brand surpassing even the National Geographic Magazine9. Discovery also announced the launch of Discovery Kids programs. which provided information about the merchandise offered by the channel. In the same year it announced the launch of new channel – Animal Planet – in the US. It also launched its first ever consumer catalog. While the video is being presented. DCI extended its programs to Canada and India.Discovery Channel . based on the user's input. it launched its online service – Discovery Channel Online – and acquired Dallas-based Discovery Store Inc. Furthermore. Chemicals and Living essentials. It has got a presence in Energy. And by 1997.. In 1995. and renamed it Discovery Channel Store. which would be aired once a week. The catalog provided information about more than 2. . Discovery Channel Catalog.Next Page >>> 6] Mitsubishi Corporation.

Discovery was the first network to target channels at different viewer segments to increase viewership and cater to the viewing needs of different viewers. Discovery Home & Leisure Channel.. Discovery was perceived as a specialty channel airing programs on wildlife and nature.. However. Discovery channel became the world's most widely distributed television brand. Discovery Channel .Next Page >>> 8] Total Research Corporation conducts EquiTrend Research to measure the brand equity of brands across various categories. in the first year of its . The 14 entertainment brands of DCI were distributed through 33 networks in around 33 languages all over the globe (Refer Table III). Discovery was successful in attracting viewers. Discovery Civilization Channel. National geographic Magazine was one of the most popular media brands across the world. In India. In March 1997. Discovery success was attributed to its programming mix and its marketing strategies. the Indian television market was dominated by entertainment channels which provided family soaps and film-based programs to viewers. 10] Established in 1922. BBC is considered one of the pioneers in news broadcasting.In the same year it entered Turkey through a partnership agreement with The Media Group. Discovering India When Discovery entered India in 1995. To suit the needs of different viewers. Discovery channel was aired in over 155 countries and had around 700 million subscribers (Refer Table II for its Global Presence). 9] The National Geographic Society publishes the National Geographic Magazine. Discovery offered The Science Channel.Discovering India . Wildlife and Science & Technology in English. Discovery Wings Channel and Discovery En Espanol (Refer Table I for the profile of these channels). Along with launching various infotainment channels. Background Contd. By 2002. DCI sold educational products and services based on its television programs to consumers through its Discovery Consumer Products Division to leverage its brand name and provide innovative products to students (Refer Exhibit II). Discovery faced the problem of positioning itself in the viewers' mindset. DCI entered into a joint venture with British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)10 to launch BBC America. It aired programs related to Nature. in India. Discovery was the first channel to provide infotainment programs in India.

which had a positive influence on children. In order to increase its penetration in South India. . They liked the channel's informative programs. which gave viewers a break from routine family dramas aired on entertainment channels in urban areas. the number of households receiving Discovery increased to 12 million within 6 weeks. in the southern and eastern parts of India.Its innovative programs. former MD. Commenting on the channel's brand image in India. Indians perceived it as a channel airing programs on nature and animals and regarded it as an educational channel. with consumers demanding the channel. Discovery decided to launch its programs in regional languages. cable operators were forced to resume airing the channel." Karnik announced that the channel planned to undertake an extensive advertising and brand building exercise to change its brand image in the country. Discovery Channel .Next Page >>> Discovering India Contd. Science & Technology. Kiran Karnik (Karnik). Discovery tied up with Doordarshan (DD)11 to air Discovery programs in Hindi12 for two hours on DD. However. Discovery soon realized that though these programs were successful in the northern states of India where Hindi was the popular language. who were concerned about the influence of TV on children. In order to reach more viewers.Discovering India .. said. it could not attract viewers through its Hindi language programs. Under the agreement. . Culture and Civilization. In 2000. Though Discovery aired a variety of programs covering a wide range of subjects. In mid-1999. Wildlife. Subsequently the number of households receiving Discovery went down to 8 million from 13 million in the first quarter of 1999 as operators stopped airing the channel. such as Nature. it entered into a revenue sharing agreement with Vijay TV13 to provide two hours of Discovery programs in Tamil. Discovery became a pay channel. Discovery also announced that it would try to enhance its reach in India. However. This move helped Discovery reach people who did not understand English. "Discovery India has to rework its brand positioning.. Discovery India. The reasons for its success were: . As a result. charging around Rs 5 per household.Parents. where the regional languages were more popular.operations it reached 3 million homes.

"Discovery gives you so much – from travel to adventure to medicine to understanding sex. Discovery offered a variety of programs covering a range of subjects and topics. he commissioned a market research to find out how Indian viewers perceived Discovery. Fabulous . such as Junkyard Wars (two teams competing to be the first to build a machine out of scrap found in a junkyard). Discovering India Contd. unlike its image.14 • Discovery was very popular with kids and their parents. Karnik announced his resignation and Deepak Shourie (Shourie) took over as MD of Discovery India. Discovery Channel . According to the study."15 The second issue was changing the image of the channel. By 2001. The study revealed that viewers loved to watch the channel but were not aware of program content and unclear about broadcast timings.. 12] One of the official languages of India 13] Popular Tamil (state language of Tamil Nadu) Television Channel. Shourie said. So the first issue was to communicate the sheer width and intense variety of the programming on Discovery. to murder mysteries.Next Page >>> 11] Indian State Broadcaster. reaching around 70 million television homes in India. However. Changing Perception After Shourie took over as MD. according to channel sources. The research highlighted the following points: • Discovery channel viewers consisted of mostly urban males between 25 – 54 years. Discovery was regarded as a serious channel with infotainment programs.Discovering India .both channels shared the revenues earned through sale of advertisement slots during the broadcast of Discovery programs. the channel needed to pay more attention to its image and its communication with viewers to improve its performance in India. Discovery realized that Indian viewers' perception of the channel had not yet changed – they still perceived it as a niche channel airing programs on wildlife and nature. In December 2000.. • Around 60% of its viewership was from the SEC A and B.

and E2. . The groups SEC A and SEC B represent educated urban consumers. September 3. B1. Shourie said. In August 2001. E1. by grouping households according to the education level and the occupation of the chief earning member. while still catering to the family as a whole. "The concept of 'My Time on Discovery' recognizes the viewing convenience of each family member individually and collectively. Time bands were introduced on the basis of the viewing patterns of viewers across all age groups. the new strategy was also aimed at attracting advertisers. 15] www.. and now the objective is to monetise the existing viewership. The new strategy – 'My Time on Discovery'was based on viewer needs and viewing habits. A2. to address the above two issues. C. Discovery announced new programming strategy with around 118 hours of new programming per week. MRSI identified eight SECs. "We've achieved critical mass.. B2. In this way the new viewer response will be `Discovery is a must watch for me'. More than 75% of SEC A and B homes are in eight cities of India. by giving them what they want from Discovery at the time that they want it. D.Discovering India . A1 denotes the upper-most SEC. making up 5.Fortunes (this program explored the sources of wealth in the 20th century) and Understanding Sex (this explored the origins of sex) etc. Shourie said. Discovery Channel ." Discovery introduced programming blocks targeting different viewer segments on the basis of broadcast time. Commenting on the new programming strategy. and E2 stands for the lowest SEC.agencyfaqs. The eight categories are labeled as A1.88 million households in sixteen cities. and in the process provide advertisers a focused platform to reach out to their key target groups. Changing Perception Contd. This strategy was implemented in October 2001.Next Page >>> 14] The Market Research Society of India (MRSI) does Socio-Economic Classifications (SEC). They receive the greatest attention in respect of trendy and lifestyle products."16 According to channel sources.

with a repeat at 11 p. Action Zone (Weekdays 4 p. the new strategy highlighted the range of programs offered by Discovery and also differentiated the Discovery channel from NGC. Marketing 'Discovery' Along with program restructuring. August 13. Prime Time (Weekdays 8 p. According to analysts. Discovery's programming strategy was successful. In the prime time band its viewership increased by 43%. One such innovative program was 'World Birth Day. its viewership among women increased by 21% and among kids by 22%. The Hindu Business Line. Discovery Channel . which depicted the medical emergencies.m.). The channel also launched India Hour.m. Discovery extended its six time bands to nine bands with the introduction of Woman's Hour (Weekdays from noon to 1 p. Discovery sources did not acknowledge that NGC was their competitor. Discovery Kids (Weekdays 3 p. By August 2002. Discovery also announced the launch of programs such as Tech Tuesday. Amazing Animals and Late Night Discovery. which aired programs on India and its culture. The program aimed at capturing aspects of different cultures and customs connected to the birth of a child. We have a much wider range.) and Super Sundays (7 a." Along with new programming blocks. However.m.m).. It conducted a yearly audio-visual quiz contest for school .m.).In August 2001.m.m.). Discovery focused on marketing initiatives to enhance its image among viewers.m. to 4 p. Friday Showcase (9 p. to 11 p. (aired on Sundays). who gave birth on the same day. Discovery also came up with innovative programs. Discovery was forced to differentiate itself from the kind of programs offered by NGC. to 5 p.m to 9 a. and Trauma.Discovering India .m. In April 2002. 2001 Changing Perception Contd. According to reports. "National Geographic is more nature oriented. smart bombs.). to midnight) (Refer Exhibit III). Shourie commented.m.m. Discovery announced the launch of six time bands – Sunrise (Weekdays 7 a.m. to 11 p. The program showed the emotions of mothers-to-be in nine different countries. which targeted people interested in technological developments such as spy gadgets. Analysts felt that with increasing competition from NGC.' which depicted the preparations that take place before and after the birth of a child.Next Page >>> 16] Discovering Change..

History. In April 2003. The contest was hosted by India's popular quizmaster. viewers were expected to register online or e-mail their particulars to the Discovery channel. Chennai. It also used direct mailers to inform viewers of the channel's programs.' In this contest. The first program guide was launched in association with India Today magazine in August 2002. Bangalore. Discovery's executives conducted imaging contests in around 75 schools in seven cities (Delhi. it launched the 'Win With Discovery Channel Contest. Marketing 'Discovery' Contd. it entered into tie up with Canon India Ltd. Pune and Ahmedabad). To do so. In April 2003. World Culture. Discovery also conducted contests to attract viewers to channel. The lucky draw winner was awarded numerous prizes. students from Classes VI to IX watched the channel's program 'Popular Mechanics for Kids' and created things under teachers' directions. Discovery was able to increase brand awareness among children and gain more market share. Discovery also conducted a contest for students. Human Adventure and Nature.. Consolidating The Presence . (wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore-based Canon Singapore Pte Limited). The quiz covered five categories of Discovery's programs – Science & Technology. Discovery channel entered the name of the viewers in its database and held a lucky draw every month (the contest covered a period of 3 months). Analysts felt that this contest helped the channel increase its brand awareness among children and increase its viewership ratings. Discovery also conducted Discovery Exhibition. It advertised through television channels (Refer Exhibit IV) and the print media.. Mumbai. Discovery also came up with the novel concept of programming guides to provide information about Discovery programs for every quarter. Discovery also advertised extensively in the media to enhance its brand image and increase its brand awareness. Analysts felt that by conducting quiz contests for students. This was conducted by Discovery in association with Colgate Dental Cream to create awareness among children about the channel's programs. wherein. In the metros it also used outdoor advertising. Discovery entered into a tie-up with Businessworld17 to provide a programming guide for the period April – June 2003. Hyderabad. Derek O' Brian.students across India to increase awareness about the channel among kids.. In August 2002.

. Shantonu Aditya. this move helped it successfully increase its reach. NGC was strong in South India. channel sources said that producing one program for Discovery cost around $1. the One Alliance partnership. Discovery announced that it would launch a 24-hour feed in Tamil. Commenting on the joint venture. According to Shourie. Consolidating The Presence Contd. science on Tuesday. NGC entered into a distribution and marketing agreement with STAR network in India. "With Tamil. "If you incur that kind of cost. Analysts pointed out that none of the programs were produced in India by Discovery. to 10 p. It planned to source world-class programs from Discovery's 14 channels across the globe. It was reported that while Discovery was strong in northern India. it snapped its ties with Vijay TV and announced that it would air Tamil programs in the family time band (8 p. SET India.. in order to enhance its distribution reach.Discovery announced that it would bring in new programs to consolidate the gains made by the new programming strategy. Discovery entered into a joint venture with Sony Entertainment Television (Sony).5 million and that revenues in India did not match the costs incurred for producing programs.Discovering India .m." In June 2002. "With Discovery joining our existing bouquet of channels.Next Page >>> 17] India's popular weekly business magazine. we hope to capture a large Tamil-speaking viewer base to the channel and expand viewership in south India. To increase its presence in South India. It was reported that the channel would offer programs on the basis of themes – history on Monday. with an equity structure of 74:26. Head (Distribution). forensics on Wednesday.m. said." In 2000. health on Thursday and premiers on Friday. Shourie said. We are now strategically positioned to be the No 1 television network in the country. the revenues just don't come in India. The majority stake was held by Sony. Commenting on why none of the Discovery programs were produced in India. is in place to offer viewers an enhanced genre of programming supported by combined distributed strength. Commenting on the channel's decision.18 announced earlier this year. In March 2002. According to analysts. Discovery Channel . known as SET Discovery.) on weekdays." .

though they offered a different genre of programs. CNBC and CNN. . including Sony. which. Discovery announced the launch of a new series The Blue Planet. In order to consolidate its position. Discovery's decision to air programs on the basis of viewership patterns helped it attract advertisers. Wild and Dangerous and Buddha's Mountain Wilderness. Discovery also announced the launch of new programs such as. and Kitchen Chemistry etc. According to analysts. for Rs 40 per subscriber. AXN. Arthur C. The films would be aired in April. Great Cats of India. Discovery. Discovery also faced stiff competition from specialty channels such as Cartoon Network. Himalayas – Descending India.According to reports. which explored under water life. CNBC and Animal Planet. Discovering The Future Through its alliance with Sony for distribution and marketing. Bismarck. Discovery announced that it expected to gain a 50% increase in both advertising and subscription revenues. featuring around 18 films made by worldrenowned producers. Great Romances of the 20th Century.Next Page >>> 18] The One Alliance brand consisted of a bouquet of six channels. Discovery Channel . This program was co-produced with BBC and it took 5 years to complete the series at a cost of around 7 million pounds. in January 2003. May and June 2003. it would be very difficult for Discovery to increase viewership. However. Some of films to be aired were.Discovering India . The channel announced that in the year 2002 around 330 brands had advertised on the channel and that the channel had registered a 50% increase in ad revenues.Chariot of the Sun. the alliance would help Discovery increase its reach from around 21 million homes (in 2002) to around 28 million homes. Along with Blue Planet. Konarak . Clark's Mysterious India. Sony Max. Will Discovery garner more revenues and increase its viewership base in India? Only time will tell. They felt that with even NGC announcing that it would air new non-wildlife programs on its channel. Discovery also announced the launch of a new program series in January 2003. attracted viewers to their channels. Immortal Capital – Many Cities of Delhi. analysts were skeptical about the channel's future in India. Special on World War II.

Discovering India .Next Page >>> .Exhibits Exhibit I: National Geographic Channel Exhibit II: Discovery Consumer Products Division Exhibit III: Discovery India Time Bands Exhibit IV: Discovery Channel TVC Discovery Channel .

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