Buckle up: Bell Media launches Discovery Velocity

The channel is steering toward a male demo with its focus on automotive programming like the auctions of collector cars by Barrett-Jackson (pictured).

Bell Media has announced it is rebranding Discovery World as Discovery Velocity and putting a focus on automotive programming along with adventure travel content.

Leading auto coverage for the channel, which is targeting men 18-54, will be live broadcasts of Barrett-Jackson, an auction of collector cars. In addition, there will be new seasons of Wheeler Dealers, about a car enthusiast and mechanic who refurbish run-down classic automobiles and sell them, as well as Classic Car Rescue, Canada’s Worst Driver and How it’s Made: Dream Cars.

Discovery World in Canada was a reincarnation of Discovery HD Theatre, which was originally Discovery Channel HD, a simulcast feed of Discovery Channel broadcast in a widescreen format. Discovery Channel HD first launched in 2003.

Discovery Velocity borrows its moniker from Discovery Communications’ U.S. channel, Velocity, which was launched in 2011 to replace Discovery HD Theatre there with a channel focused on high-end automobiles, sports and other male-focused programs.

Since launching in the U.S.,  ‎Velocity has continued to grow, says Paul Lewis, president and GM at Discovery Channel.

The new channel launches in Canada Feb. 12 with a 48-day free preview. Online, DiscoveryWorld.ca will become DiscoveryVelocity.ca on Feb 2.

The Canadian market had been lacking an auto-focused channel since U.S.-based Speed shut down in 2013 and its auto shows, along with racing coverage, moved to Fox Sports 1 and 2. The channel was not converted in Canada, with Canadian providers continuing to carry Speed featuring simulcasts from Fox Sports programming as well as re-runs of factual programs. Rogers, Bell and Cogeco have since dropped the channel from their lineups.

This has created a gap in the Canadian marketplace, Lewis says

“We know from our own audience data across Discovery networks that there is an appetite for this programming,” he says.