Discovery to launch 4 new digital channels in India
New Delhi: American broadcaster Discovery Communications is planning to launch four new digital channels in India in 2018, in partnership with video streaming platforms YouTube, Reliance Jio and Vodafone Play, the company said on Thursday.
The company, through its new channels, will focus on video content and programming on four niche subjects—military, automotives, food and women empowerment. The move is aimed at expanding the reach of Discovery by three times from 21 million weekly viewers (unduplicated) to 60 million, along with opening a new revenue stream for the company.
At present, Discovery Communications operates 12 factual entertainment channels in India, including Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Discovery HD World, Discovery Science, Discovery Turbo, Discovery Kids and sports channel DSPORT.
“The channels will cater to consumers in metro and tier-I cities. We are looking to target audience in the age group of 18 and 30 years. We are trying to build niche passionate communities with the content we are offering. We are not competing with Hotstar, Amazon Prime or Netflix. Our content is targeted at a very specific set of audience,” said Karan Bajaj, senior vice-president and general manager at Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, a division of Discovery Communications.
The first two digital channels—VEER by Discovery and RISE by TLC—will be launched in the first quarter of 2018 and are expected to offer more than 100 hours of original programming in India. All channels will be driven by advertising and will offer mid-form and short-form content (not more than 15 minutes).
“These will be independent digital channels and not catch-up TV. From the best in military to girl power to automobiles and world food, our aim is to create and nurture passionate interest-based communities with edgy world-class content that resonates,” said Zulfia Waris, vice-president, premium and digital networks at Discovery Communications India, in a statement.
Earlier this year, Discovery had announced its plans to enter the general entertainment segment with a new channel JEET. The channel will take on rivals Star Plus, Colors and Zee TV with scripted dramas and series in a bid to cash in on the Rs10,000 crore general entertainment advertising market.
Media experts believe that Discovery’s move is in line with the growing reach of digital platforms and will open a new revenue stream for the company. “Everyone is digitally activated and people are seeking content in the niche categories that Discovery is offering. Discovery is one of the richest networks across the world as far as content is concerned. It makes sense to leverage that, given that digital is growing by leaps and bounds,” said Anita Nayyar, chief executive officer of Havas Media Group, India and South Asia.
Growth for digital advertising in India is projected to be the fastest among media platforms at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.6%, according to Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2017-21 released by consulting firm PwC. Digital advertising will reach $1.7 billion by 2021, up from the estimated $740 million in 2016, while television advertising is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.1% between 2017 and 2022.