Discovery, the digital pay TV channel, is not keen to launch its other specialised channels separately before getting a better feel of the market pulse.
The channel, which uses the Panamsat-10 satellite, has a big bouquet of specialised channels ranging from Discovery Kids, to Health, Home & Leisure, People+Arts, Sci-Trek, Travel & Adventure, Civilisation and Wings.
These channels are beamed over 62 separate feeds in 33 languages via 11 satellites to over 400 million households globally.
According to sources, Discovery is not only worried about other channels, but has also found it tough going solo for distribution and networking. Last month, it joined hands with Sony Entertainment Television (SET) for distribution of Discovery and Animal Planet.
Now, Discovery and Animal Planet come as a package together with SET, SET Max, CNBC India and AXN for Rs 40. Any one channel individually, except CNBC, comes for Rs 36 a la carte.
Including CNBC and Animal Planet, the a la carte rate is Rs 15, while any two channels come in a Rs 36 package, three channels for Rs 37 and all five or six for Rs 40.
Multi-system operators (MSOs), who receive the satellite signals and feed smaller operators via cable, place Discovery in the mid- or non-prime band, while giving a prime slot to National Geographic, a channel that is part of rival STAR’s package. In Kolkata, the MSO RPG Netcom shows NGC on the No. 4 slot and Discovery on the No. 31 slot.
According to industry observers, Discovery may not continue the partnership with Sony for long, as STAR is planning to tie up with Sony to fight the Zee-Turner association.
For SET, it makes sense to tie up with Star later. In fact, the rights to the cricket world cup were sold by Global Cricket Corp of Mr Rupert Murdoch to SET as the first step towards a partnership.
According to sources, Discovery made a handsome profit, but declined to disclose the figure. It charges Rs 20,000 for a 30-second prime-time advertisement slot, but does not have fixed rates for non-prime time.
However, like other pay channels, Discovery too is unhappy with cable operators since they pay the channel only 20 per cent of the revenue they get from viewers by under-reporting viewership.
Source: Financial Express