India high on Discovery agenda

By , agencyfaqs! | In | January 21, 2003
Discovery is going all out to woo Indian audiences with a fresh programming line-up

Discovery is not willing to sit quiet as others celebrate Republic Day. Between 7.00 pm and 10.00 pm (that is, during family time) on January 26, Discovery will telecast three India-specific programmes, each of one hour duration. First is Amazing World's: India, where India is in the spotlight. Then there's Steam's Indian Summer, where ex-BBC hand Mark Tully will take a journey down memory lane to discover India's steam engine. Magic Trees of Assam will take the Republic Day programming forward chasing bees to find out where they migrate to build hives.

All these programmes are part of Discovery's big plan to woo more and more Indian viewers. In line with this strategy, the channel plans to launch 'Discover India', a series that deals with India, in April. That will be the biggest, besides the launch of the 24-hour Hindi feed, among its various initiatives to focus on India.

Besides these India-specific initiatives, Discovery has lined up some other interesting programmes round the year. Among the high profile ones are Blue Planet and Bismarck. Blue Planet is an award winning, 'ground breaking' natural history series on the oceans of our planet. A programme that took five long years to be filmed. The first episode is going to be aired on January 23, at 8.00 pm, with the repeat telecast on Saturdays at 9.00 am and Sundays at 11.00 pm. The channel has already roped in advertisers such as Samsung, Parle's Krack Jack, Johnson & Johnson, Pepsi, Hyundai and Yamaha for this. The programme is being promoted through print, TV and at cinemas. In fact, promotions are going to play an important role in creating awareness of the new programmes on Discovery. According to information available with agencyfaqs!, the channel's promotion budget is to the tune of Rs 5 crore to Rs 10 crore for the entire year.

Talking about Blue Planet, Pankaj Saxena, director, programming, Discovery Communications India, said, "Indians are very pro nature. Here the sea is revered as God. Moreover, Indians are too focused on knowledge; it is part of the Indian psyche."

Coming in February is a two-hour special on the World War II German battleship - Bismarck. Bismarck, which is a James Cameron (the filmmaker behind Oscar winner Titanic) expedition, is going to be aired on February 16 at 7.00 pm and the second screening is at 3.00 pm on February 22. The channel has reportedly signed on Chevron Texaco, Philips and Mahindra & Mahindra Scorpio for this.

Indeed, Discovery is excited about its new line up. "The changes we have made at Discovery over the last year have paid rich dividends in terms of viewership gains," said Deepak Shourie, managing director, Discovery Communications India. He added, "We will continue to innovate and bring you the best of the real world entertainment." © 2003 agencyfaqs!

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