Discovery Science and Discovery Turbo, two of the technology-related channels of the Discovery Network, will see add-ons from October 1. While Discovery Science will have a 24x7 Hindi feed, subtitles will be introduced in Discovery Turbo. These will be available on all cable and DTH platforms. The move aims to ensure further penetration of the channels in the Hindi language market.
Rationalising the move, the network explains that language is a substantial part of its business strategy. Thus, the flagship Discovery Channel has feeds in four languages - English, Telugu, Bengali and Hindi, while there is a separate channel, Discovery Tamil, for the Tamil Nadu audience. The network's other channels such as lifestyle channel TLC and wildlife channel Animal Planet also have feeds in Hindi and English. Again, the recently launched channel for the kids' genre, Discovery Kids, was launched in three feeds - English, Hindi and Tamil.
Interestingly, the network's competition infotainment channel Fox Traveller, too, has a feed in Bengali, while National Geographic has feeds in Hindi, Telugu, Bengali and Tamil. Evidently, the regional feeds have a skew towards Bengali and Tamil languages.
Marketers believe that the reason for this is the language barrier of these states. Apart from these states, the Hindi feeds and programmes are widely accepted and entertained in almost all the other regional markets of the country.
Discovery was the first global network to launch a Hindi feed in the country back in 1998 for its flagship channel, Discovery.
It is also learnt that after the introduction of the Hindi-language feed, Discovery Science plans a few show launches. The five series to be launched in the next quarter include 'Prophets of Science Fiction'; 'Dark Matters'; 'Alien Encounters'; 'How Tech Works' and 'Combat Tech'.
As for the subtitling of Turbo, Johari mentions that the accent becomes a barrier in the receptivity of the audiences. "Subtitling makes it more convenient since the terminology is a little scientific and the accent, too, is foreign," he adds.
It is also learnt that the channel will see more show launches after this initiative. Meanwhile, the network awaits a smooth distribution of Discovery Science and the subsequent launch of the Hindi feeds. The channel reaches over 20 million homes.
Refusing to comment on the effect on advertising rates, Johari says, "This will definitely be an added value for the advertiser. However, the advertising rates and all other minor details are governed by viewership numbers."
It may be noted that each channel on the network is sold separately and the launch of the new feed shouldn't make much of a difference to the ad-rates of the other channels in the network, inform marketers.
On the launch of this feed a month ahead of digitisation, Johari says, "We are here for a longer haul. The work for this launch started about seven months back, at the time when digitisation was due on June 30. Also, these decisions depend more on the research that we continuously carry out."
He explains that the network is constantly on the look-out for any gaps in the industry. "We evaluate the gaps and then try to fill them. For now, we discovered that five languages, English, Hindi, Bangla, Telugu and Tamil, are quite sufficient."
However, he adds, "If the research team comes up with another 'need gap', we will be ready to fill in."