Buoyed with the recent success, Discovery channel is set to take its ‘New Time Band Strategy’ forward. Starting April, it will re-organize the content in 9 programming bands to offer ‘alternate television.’
Keeping in mind the audience-content match, the 9 programming bands have been extended from earlier 6 bands. So the morning (8-10 a.m.) band has been branded as ‘Sunrise’, noontime is ‘Woman’s Hour’, early evening is ‘Discovery Kids’ and so on. The content has been sourced from its own bouquet of 14 international channels.
What is the objective and expectation? For one, to build some ‘appointment’ viewership. Inspite of rich original content on Nature/ History channels, a typical viewer is at a loss on what to watch and when. Clearly segmented and promoted time bands can help drive viewership by communicating the programme offering, available at viewer’s convenience. Second, such bands lend themselves to better advertising opportunity.
If early results are any indicator, the strategy seems to have worked already. In August 2001, Discovery had initiated its first re-scheduling by organizing its programming in 6 broad blocks. The current initiative only takes it forward. According to Discovery, since the first re-scheduling, the viewership has gone up substantially. Quoting TAM data, it claims that primetime viewership has gone up by 21%, while that amongst women has shot up by 41%!
“This new initiative will enable different members of the family to watch Discovery – individually or together, at a time that suits them,” says Deepak Shourie, MD of Discovery Channel. Highlighting the wider programming choice that Discovery would now offer, Shourie says, “We will now provide viewers with a riveting alternative to the usual soaps and serials. It is a alternative television.”
Will this initiative broaden Discovery’s appeal to soap and serial watchers? Well, that will really be the measure of success.