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General News Discovery to launch four ad-led digital channels in 2018
[Image: discovery-communication-main.jpg]MUMBAI: With data costs and the prices of smartphones coming down more viewers especially in the premium segment are consuming content on the smartphone, Discovery Communications India is planning to launch direct-to-consumer, social and mobile-first channels in the first quarter of 2018.

The new mobile-first channels will focus on four core-interest areas ‘Military’, ‘Girlist’, ‘Automotive’, and ‘Food’.

The first two channels to launch will be Veer by Discovery and Rise by TLC. The mobile first channels will have bespoke digital-first, mid-form and short-form content.

Veer by Discovery, which is a military-focused channel, will launch on 26 January 2018 and will be in Hindi. Rise by TLC, which targets women with activism led content, will have a soft launch next month and the main launch in February 2018. It will be a Hinglish channel.

In the first year itself, Veer by Discovery and Rise by TLC will offer consumers 100+ hours of original content in India. Veer by Discovery will offer more than 550 videos across short-form, mid-form and long-form content (not more than 15 minutes) for the military enthusiasts.

Content on Veer and Rise comes in three forms – daily videos, the hub content area which takes the form of weekly formats and tentpole properties. Some of the tentpole properties will also be seen on- air and that is how costs will be ammortised.

Rise by TLC aims to be a brand with style by bringing alive edgy, ‘girl power’ storytelling. As an example, TLC recently debuted Queens of Comedy, India’s first-ever female comedy show on social media and received an extremely enthusiastic response with more than 16 million+ views across platforms. The show delivered 95% organic views with an impressive 14 minutes time spent per episode.

Veer by Discovery and Rise by TLC will be followed by specialised automotive and food-focused mobile-first channels later in the year. The target is to launch them in April 2018. The food channel will use content from Scripps which was recently acquired by Discovery.

Discovery has partnered with YouTube, Reliance Jio, and Vodafone Play to optimise the launch of these channels and maximise its reach across social and mobile platforms.

The digital channels will be free and will rely on ad revenue. The aim is to offer an integrated platform for advertisers who can have brand visibility on-air and online. There is scope for brand integration on Rise by TLC. The aim is to triple the reach of Discovery through the channels to 63 million given the earlier mentioned 15% figure for online content consumption of factual and lifestyle.

Discovery Communications India senior VP, GM Karan Bajaj said that reaching the stage of launching digital channels is a six-month process. The aim is to think digital and not just do digital. Thinking digital means that from now on digital will be in Discovery India’s DNA. That is why the broadcaster has roped in digital native executives to lead the business.

He expects the premium audience who Discovery and TLC target to grow their consumption of digital content and follow the patterns that have been seen in the US. He noted that 80% of content online is being dumped on OTT platforms. It is not being designed for digital and what Veer and Rise are doing is designing content for digital.

“15% of content consumption on digital happens for factual and lifestyle. However, there is no leader content brand in this genre. Our aim is to become a leader. The aim is to become a top 20 YouTube channel in six months. Three to five years down the road we want to be the number one food, auto brand on digital,” he asserted.

Bajaj said that the digital channels will help Discovery to ramp up its reach across linear and digital platforms by almost three times making it an irresistible proposition for the advertisers who will now have the option to reach out to premium consumers across our linear network and presence across the most popular social and mobile platforms.

He pointed out that content distribution online will take two forms. The first is the aggregators where he feels consolidation will happen and there will be a maximum of four players. Discovery has no interest in this area.

The second form is the passionate community model which is where Discovery India’s focus rests on. Niche communities are there and this is 30% of digital consumption. “These passionate communities are scalable in the areas that we operate in,” he stated.

He noted that the logic behind Veer by Discovery is that in the past several years whenever a show has been made on the armed-forces on Discovery Channel it has been a top performer and has always generated huge interest and rated highly amongst audiences and the ad community. This makes ‘Military’ an important programming focus area.

Some of the key initiatives on the two digital channels are:

Veer by Discovery: Breaking Point Franchise, Breaking Point: Commando Training, Breaking Point: Submarine School, Breaking Point: High Altitude Warfare School, Breaking Point: Air Force Academy, Battle Ops, and Women Fighter Pilots.

Rise by TLC: The Poetist, Trolled, Stories In A Song, The Birds And The Bees, Queens Vs. Kings, and Queens of Comedy.


Airtel Digital HD Recorder / Kerala Vision Digital TV
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