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Discovery India: Scaling up through the pandemic with innovation

Discovery wants to create content that appeals to both advertisers and viewers, writes Shaun Nanjappa, Head of Advertising Sales - South Asia, Warner Bros. Discovery

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: Apr 18, 2022 4:35 PM  | 3 min read
Discovery India

As India battled the Covid pandemic, the repercussions were evident across the sector. Yet, despite the slowdown in advertiser interest, the Discovery Network in India recorded double-digit revenue growth in FY2020-21, powered by digital ad revenues that grew by over 200%. This performance can be attributed to our strong pivot to the OTT space that also leveraged the strength of our well-established linear TV channels. 

Discovery capitalized on the strength and reach of its traditional linear businesses to execute over 40 initiatives across a range of formats including branded content, brand licensing, content integrations, and collaborations. We were also cognizant of the fact that high-impact formats were required to drive numbers and spotted an opportunity with Into the Wild with Bear Grylls, a show that emerged as a mega IP for us. The franchise helped us drive disproportionate advertising revenues with its exceptional line-up of guests. Our mega IP of 2021 - Into the Wild with superstar Ajay Devgn and adventurer Bear Grylls enabled us to open new avenues of advertising growth through a diverse range of advertisers. 

Along with this, we brought marquee brands on to our unique sporting IPs on Eurosport like LIC & AMFI from BFSI, Coca Cola from FMCG and clients from the Handset category. This enabled Eurosport to record an impressive growth in viewership from Q1 within 2 years of its launch

Coming to our streaming platform, discovery+, we conceptualized and executed a first-of-its-kind partnership with Korea Tourism on our show Star vs Food S2. Through this association, we aimed to tap into Korean pop culture and create something Indian fans could related to. As a part of the association, exclusive integrations in the form of Korean meals, K-pop stars, etc. were done in the premiere episode starring Janhvi Kapoor. 

In the EdTech sector, Discovery School Super League i.e., India’s biggest quiz contest in 2021 marked the 4th renewal of our partnership with Byjus. The initiative has seen over 54000+ schools and 12.85 million children participating till date. Establishing our presence in the FMCG industry, Discovery Kids created its first-ever integrated campaign with a full-scale blockbuster movie as a part of its association with Hershey’s Jolly Rancher Lollipops. In addition, we executed about 8 Government projects in 2021 including the first-ever partnership with the UP government wherein we showcased the culture and heritage of the state though a series of films. In another partnership, we highlighted the restoration of Kashi Vishwanath Dham by our current PM.

At Discovery, we want to create content that appeals to both advertisers and viewers. This is only possible when the brand and content match thematically making the association seem organic. As the country moves past the pandemic, we will continue to develop differentiated offerings that will prove to be fruitful for both the brand and our stakeholders.

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