Discovery Channel concentrates on the family

By , agencyfaqs! | In | August 22, 2002
When other entertainment channels are aiming adults with heavy doses of 'serial' fiction, Discovery targets the whole family with alternative entertainment

Experienced marketers will tell you, you can't be all things to everybody. But Discovery Channel wants to prove otherwise.

While the other entertainment channels give heavy doses of 'serial' fiction (for the consumption of adults in the main) in the prime-time band, Discovery has an interesting mix of alternative entertainment for the whole family. Discovery calls it 'Real Life Entertainment for the entire family'. And every night it has a different theme.

With the prime time-band of 7.00 pm - 10.00 pm as the prime driver for increasing viewership, Discovery is going whole hog to make a success of its new positioning stance. Talking about the rationale behind this strategy, Sanjay Raina, associate director, marketing, Discovery Communications, says, "The real life entertainment viewer is interested in watching a wide variety of programmes. He/she would want to watch it along with the family. Hence the choice of a different theme each night at a time when the family is most likely to watch television together."

At 7.00 pm is Wild Discovery, followed by a new concept of theme nights that starts at 8.00 pm. The theme for Mondays is History, Tuesdays are for Science, Crime on Wednesdays, Health on Thursdays and a particular package of premieres and advertiser specials on Friday Showcase. The programming strategy has been worked out with an eye to the psychographics of the Discovery Channel viewer, who is mostly the urban male aged between 25 and 54 years. The company claims over 60 per cent of the channel viewers are from the SEC A and B. There is also a Discovery Kids band that has a huge following among kids and their parents. "In this time band, we have noticed a trend of children watching TV accompanied by adults, who are usually their parents," says Raina.

The idea of branding time slots was born from a combination of consumer feedback, studies and research. "We realigned our content across the day parts putting content closer to what that particular demographic would like to watch at their most likely TV watching time of the day," explains Raina. This realignment was aimed to address the core consumer need of 'What to watch when'. And the process of implementation of the programming strategy began in October 2001.

What followed then was the branding of 'day parts' into what Discovery refers to as 'Time Brands'. The various time brands during the day are Sunrise, Woman's Hour, Amazing Animals, Discovery Kids, Action Zone, Family Time, Late Night Discovery and Weekends. This exercise, the company claims, has started bearing fruit. Since the time the time-branding strategy was initiated, the viewership of Discovery among women has increased by 21 per cent and 22 per cent among kids. In the prime-time band itself the viewership has gone up by a whopping 43 per cent. "Starting this year, we have begun drawing resources from our 14 Discovery-owned international television brands which is being beamed in India," adds Raina.

Apparently, the recent programming initiatives have not only increased the viewership of the channel, it has also helped Discovery increase its gap (both in viewership and in revenues) with National Geographic Channel. "While we were at the same level for the period April-June 2001 (source TAM), we were 33 per cent ahead of them in the same period this year," claims Raina. In fact, according to TAM data for period April-June 2002, Discovery had more viewers than National Geographic in every time band (Sunrise, Woman's Hour, Amazing Animals, Discovery Kids, Action Zone, Family Time, Late Night and Weekends).

Will Discovery's platter of family entertainment help it woo away viewers from the general interest channels? Only time will tell. © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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