Discovery Channel is commissioning a slew of India-specific programs under the ‘Discover India’ series, which is positioned to present a glimpse of India that goes beyond the cliched images of temples, holy men and the Taj Mahal.
“We are constantly thinking of ideas, programming and marketing strategies to keep up our popularity, and keeping this in mind, we have planned a number of shows for the Discover India series. Some of them are very interesting and are bound to get the target audience – upscale families. A lot of research has gone into identifying the correct time band to air these programs, to make sure it reaches our target segment,” Aditya Tripathi, Director – Marketing, Discovery Communications India tells exchange4media. Key advertisers include Bharti Cellular, ICICI Prudential, Kerala Tourism and Samsung.
The first programme, ‘The Legend of Malerkotla: A tale of Punjab,’ is slated for January17, 2004. “The partition of Punjab in 1947 was one of the worst acts in the 20th century. Through this mayhem, there was only one oasis of peace – Malerkotla. Legend has it that for centuries, the town has been peaceful because of the special boon given to it by Guru Gobind Singh. Some attribute it to the presence of Baba Sadruddin’s shrine. ‘Discover India’ showcases Malerkotla as an example of religious tolerance and brotherhood,” cites Tripathi.
Next in line is ‘Great Crimes & Trials: The assassination of Mahatma Gandhi,’ a complete story about how and why the assassination took place. ‘India – Myth & Mystics’ showcases the pursuit of spiritual redemption that leads people to practice mysterious rituals including self-mortification practices such as skewering tongues, piercing cheeks and hanging from hooked flesh. In contrast, ‘Travellers: Onam & the Snakeboat Races’ features the tradition of snake boat races in Kerala.
‘Patiala Necklace’ on February 21 crowns the series. “In 1925, the house of Cartier was commissioned by the Maharaja of Patiala to create a necklace of over 1000 carats. At the end of the British Empire, independence and partition of India in 1947, the necklace disappears. The story of this necklace is a metaphor of the destiny of those Maharajahs who passed from the heights of power to their downfall in less than a century. In ‘98, Cartier managed to track down and buy back the necklace but it had lost its major stone,” says Tripathi.
Discover India is an on going series on Discovery, which is claiming good viewership response for the first episode, ‘The Great Cats of India’ (April 5, 2003). The TAM viewership data for the very first episode claims a viewership of 1,60,000, which put it on the number two position, ahead of HBO, Star Movies and National Geographic.