Guest Column: Towards a bigger, better and bolder year
Rahul Johri, Executive Vice President and General Manager, South Asia & Southeast Asia, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, on the network's growing strides in Indian television
2014 was a great year for Discovery as we expanded our network portfolio, maintained a strong growth trajectory and continued to deliver finest entertainment.
We entertain audience through our robust portfolio of 11 networks reaching a cumulative 260 million homes in five languages. We command leadership in genres ranging from factual, lifestyle, wildlife, kids, high-definition to Hindi entertainment.
As a natural extension of our strategy to inform and entertain consumers with compelling content across platforms, we launched Discovery Channel Magazine in partnership with India Today Group.
The year witnessed the expansion of our portfolio with the launch of three unique channel launches, unmatched India productions and marketing innovations.
2014 marked our entry in Hindi entertainment genre with the launch of ID- Investigation Discovery. Our research findings revealed that Indian viewers have immense appetite to watch true investigation and crime based narratives if presented in an entertaining way. Steering this directional shift in the cluttered Hindi entertainment genre, we launched ID – our distinct and high-quality investigative channel. Offering Indian viewers a refreshing entertainment experience, ID has set a new trend in Indian television.
Continuing to offer the widest repertoire of programmes, we launched more than 300 high-quality programme series catering to the interests, passions and demands of children, youth, women, men and families. We strengthened our India content slate with unprecedented 100 original hours in the last two years bringing unique stories, pristine subjects, and exclusive accesses.
Some of the path-breaking India productions on Discovery Channel and TLC include, Revealed: National Defence Academy, Revealed: The Line of Control, Revealed: World’s Biggest Election, India: Living Traditions, Revealed: Rann of Kutch, Medical Miracles, Ravinder’s Kitchen, Trinny & Susannah’s Makeover Mission India & The Great Indian World Trip amongst many others.
We have surprised and delighted the viewer with some of our extraordinary shows giving them an opportunity to watch and enjoy once in a lifetime experiences such as Skyscraper Live with Nik Wallenda – a LIVE event on Discovery Channel which has been a huge hit all over the world.
We further extended our leadership in high-definition genre with the launch of TLC HD World and Animal Planet HD World. Our HD channels are unique gold standard channels with programming scheduled as per viewers’ demands.
Animal Planet continues to be India’s preferred destination for wildlife entertainment with 10% more viewers watching it than History TV 18. The channel’s distinct proposition has won the hearts of viewers consistently across the country. Animal Planet stood out yet again for celebrating Indian wildlife on 68th year of India’s Independence with a musical anthem Yeh Mera India (It’s My India). Leading Bollywood Music Directors Salim & Sulaiman were commissioned to create the multi-lingual Yeh Mera India Anthem in Hindi, Bangla and Tamil.
Acknowledged as a refreshing and game changing channel, Discovery Kids has firmly established itself in Indian households as the preferred kids’ destination. We presented the Indian audience with our biggest India series on Discovery Kids– KISNA produced by prolific filmmaker Ketan Mehta.
In 2014, TLC continued to expand the lifestyle definition with new international themed series, exciting hosts and new genres. We presented a new category of lifestyle entertainment “reality” with over the top shows such as Mama’s Boys of the Bronx, 90 Day Fiancé and Surviving the In- Laws.
Being ahead of the curve in recognising emerging trends, we identified a vacuum for male skewed English entertainment content and re-energised TURBO to satiate this demand. The transformed Turbo as a premium male entertainment network in India offers a wide range of content from adventure and survival, technology and combat to male lifestyle, automotive and speed, technology and culture.
We will continue to offer the finest viewing experience and differentiated offerings to viewers and maximum value to our trade partners. Our expansion over the past few years and the matching success is a reflection of India’s significance in the world of Discovery.
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