GM signs on for Discovery’s Big Live (and broadband-only) Events

Discovery Channel Canada takes science programming to the next cyber level, which entails sponsors and classroom participation.

Discovery Channel Canada is rolling out live content exclusively through its re-vamped website,, and GM Pontiac has signed on as the net’s inaugural sponsor for Big Live Events. The auto marketer supported the net’s broadband-only presentation of Robots at War: FIRST Robotics Canadian Regional Championships, which took place last weekend and included tie-ins to the net’s flagship program, Daily Planet, via host Jay Ingram’s coverage. The Pontiac brand is given prominent banners and sponsor mentions throughout the site’s robotics programming.

The net has already aired two exclusive live broadband events – the Transit of Mercury in Nov. 2006 and the lunar eclipse in March. Buzz-building strategy included a newsblast to 17,000 Canadian schools to encourage classroom participation – a tactic that will be applied to all Big Live Events. The broadband-only coverage is developed to maximize on participation in live chats and votes.

Upcoming Big Live Events available for sponsorship include: Anatomy of a Shuttle Launch (spring 2007), Concrete Canoe Challenge (Sunday, May 13, 3:30 pm ET/12:30 pm PT), and an International Space Station viewing from Earth (which may include a live chat with the crew in June). Discovery Channel will also develop a dino dig, a meteor shower, a live building demolition, 24 hours in the life of a wild bear, a live shuttle launch, and a live webcast from the arctic with NASA researchers simulating a Mars environment on earth (see MiC‘s coverage of the net’s fall Mars programming).

Discovery’s broadband player is nearing its one millionth downloaded video stream. The re-design includes TV quality broadband-only content such as production diaries, behind-the-scenes outtakes/bloopers, previews/trailers for upcoming series and specials, photo galleries and discussion groups for programs. The net’s branded broadband player launched last fall and now counts more than 150 hours of video programming.