Discovery Channel subscribers can expect to watch Indian programming on the channel in a few months’ time. The real-life programming channel is not only indianising content, but is also producing regional language feeds, starting with Tamil and then moving on to Telugu, in order to expand its reach.
These initiatives are over and above its recent joint venture with Sony for distribution of Discovery as a part of Sony bouquet across the country.
The Tamil broadcast will start with a two-hour band of programmes on varied themes between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. (Monday to Friday) and will slowly increase that to a 24-hour Tamil language feed.
At present the channel has 38 per cent penetration in the state and 29 per cent in South India, compared to its all India penetration of 42 per cent. Of the 35 million cable and satellite (C&S) homes in India, Discovery reaches around 15 million. However, of the 15.3 million C&S households in south India, the channel reaches only 4.5 million subscribers, of which 46 per cent or 2.1 million are in Tamil Nadu.
The Tamil channel will be followed by a Telugu one, and depending on the feedback the channel will also look at launching feeds in the other two south Indian languages — Malayalam and Kannada. The pay channel currently has 24-hour English and Hindi language feeds.
Discovery chose Tamil first because of the high television viewership in Tamil Nadu state, which is as high as 300 minutes per week for some channels.
The subscription rate of the channel, however, remains unchanged at Rs 6.50 per month per subscriber.