Discovery launches trio of services

Three new Discovery brands will debut at the end of the summer, and the network's goal is to have 100% original content in prime time at launch. Opportunities for marketers will be available.

The renewed joint venture between CTV and Discovery will produce three new Canadian brands at the end of summer, each taking the place of existing services.

Discovery World HD kicks off Aug. 2 with a free month-long preview, and is a rebrand of Discovery HD. It will be available in more than one million homes at launch.

Discovery Science launches Aug. 30, taking over Discovery Civilization with a new focus on innovations, experiments and discoveries.

Investigation Discovery, which takes the place of Court TV on Sept. 27, has already become a strong brand in the US since its 2008 launch. The channel, which looks at forensics, the paranormal and – as Discovery describes it – ‘the human potential for good and evil’, is the number-one non-sports cable channel for growth in several key demos south of the border.

Paul Lewis, president and GM of Discovery Channel, says the JV gave Discovery Canada a chance to cherry-pick the brands that would work best for domestic audiences.

Says Lewis, ‘We were able to take a look and see what the real winners would be for us… [and take the] ones that had greatest potential for growth and the strongest program supply.’

Discovery’s goal is 100% original content in primetime at launch. Lewis breaks that down to about 50% of programming obtained through the joint venture; about 10% from other existing deals (such as Discovery’s partnership with the BBC, and the first look it has with Japanese pubcaster NHK); and the remaining 40% from Canadian producers.

Lewis says the schedules are almost finished, and his main focus now is talking to the cable and satellite providers to explain the hows and whys of the moves.

Notes Lewis, ‘our lifeblood is our relationship with subscribers.’

Although subscriptions will be the primary revenue driver, look for Discovery to actively engage with marketers for its three new services. Says Lewis, ‘we’re always looking at creative ways to make the service appeal to advertisers.’

He points to the product placement deal Discovery shares with Canadian Tire for Canada’s Worst Handyman as one example, and stresses the value of an in-house production company that allows Discovery to adapt or create customized content for partners.