Prajjal Saha

Discovery aims bigger advertising pie with a lifestyle channel

Discovery Travel and Living is targeting some 75 million people from upper and middle income households of urban India

Lifestyle is an emerging genre on Indian television and it's also lucrative in terms of advertising revenues, says Deepak Shourie, executive vice president and managing director, Discovery Networks. This explains why Discovery Communications is launching its third channel in India - Discovery Travel and Living.

The channel, which will start its test run from next week, will be officially launched in October.

What makes this launch special is that the channel is making its international debut in India. The rest of the world will get to see Discovery Travel and Living only next year. Clearly, the network prefers experimenting in the Indian sub-continent.

When asked about the strategy behind choosing India as the launch-site, Shourie said, "India is a very important market for Discovery Network, and I also believe that Indian audience has matured enough to respond to a lifestyle channel of such kind."

Advertisers ought to be excited by the idea that the channel is targeting some 75 million people from upper and middle income households of urban India.

Rahul Johri, vice president, advertising sales, says "We are targeting lifestyle products which have been traditionally advertising in print." Citing an example, he said, "Brands like Mercedes Benz or high-end watch brands such as Omega, Rado, Tommy Hilfiger have huge media spends on print. We want to provide these brands a television platform to reach out to their right TG."

Johri's gameplan matches what Euromonitor, a reputed media research agency, has to say on the subject. "Worldwide television caters to audiences, which has lower literacy rates but in India the scenario is just the reverse - growth of TV viewing is affluence-driven." The statement indicates the need of a lifestyle channel in the country - especially catering to the high-end audience.

Although the channel will initially air only international programmes, localised content will be a part of the programming from next year.

When quizzed by agencyfaqs! on what would be the percentage of localised content, Shourie said, "We cannot tell you about the ratio of localised content now but certainly the channel will be on a look out for quality locally produced shows." However, the channel said that it was not in talks with any local production houses, as of now. Shourie also commented that the localised programmes such as Discovery India for the parent channel has scored well."

Johri also clarified that a typical sixty-minute programme would only have 10 minutes of advertising.

The channel will host programmes on different genres such as travel, health & well-being, food & cuisine, automotive & motoring, home design & decor, hobbies, and outdoor leisure. While some new programmes would be introduced in the channel, there would also be shifting of programmes from the parent channel.

Some of the programmes to be aired on the channel will be travel shows such as 'Celebrity Travelogues' and 'Globetrekker', cuisine shows such as 'Floyd's India' and 'Cooking for Love'. 'Cooking for Love' is essentially a reality show where one goes on a blind date - and select the companion by the food s/he cooks. 'Other Peoples' Homes' and 'Super Homes' will be some of attractions of home design & decor shows. Shows such as 'Tim Brooke-Taylor's Golf Clubs' will talk about the lifestyle related to the game of golf and 'World Poker Tour' will see players fighting for a couple of million dollars of prize money over a game of cards.

For distribution, the channel has aligned with One Alliance and claims that it would be available in 30 cities within a week. Although it has been decided that Discovery Travel and Living will be a pay channel, the price of the channel is yet to be finalised. © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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