Feb 2, 2009

Entertainment - Discovery rides high on Ultimate Discovery; ready to launch second phase

Sumantha Rathore

On October 1, Discovery launched a primetime time band, from 9 pm to 10 pm daily, during which it showcases some of its best programmes. The time band, which was called Ultimate Discovery, has programmes centring round themes such as science, technology, the natural world, adventure and exploration.

The time band met with a fair amount of success and the channel has now launched the second phase of Ultimate Discovery. During this phase, Ultimate Discovery will air shows such as Cool Stuff, Discovery Project Earth, Republic Day Special, Jaguar Adventure, Discover India, Into the Unknown with Josh Bernstein, Next World, Cosmic Collisions, Holi Special and Time Warp. The second season of Man vs Wild will also be shown in this time band.

As per data from Tam Media Research, (C&S, 15+, Six Metros), Discovery garnered GRPs of 242 between October and December 2008. This is an increase of 48 GRPs over the previous quarter, July-September 2008. The channel’s GRPs have increased from 18 in July-September to 25 in October-December specifically during the Ultimate Discovery time band.

Rahul Johri, senior vice-president and general manager, India, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, says, “This is a sizeable increase in viewership, especially in our prime time band. We will continue to launch big ticket shows under Ultimate Discovery.”

Johri hopes that the channel will attract a new set of viewers and, thus, increase its appointment viewing.

afaqs! sought the opinion of a few media observers on the viewer response to Ultimate Discovery.

Tarun Nigam, executive director, India, North and Pakistan, Starcom Worldwide, says that Ultimate Discovery has helped the channel increase appointment viewing in the prime time band.

“Ultimate Discovery is a channel driver. In the infotainment genre, there are tent-pole properties and special events, which help channels claim leadership positions. Ultimate Discovery is one such property.”

Jyoti Bansal, executive director, West and South, MPG, is of the opinion that Ultimate Discovery has helped improve the perception and image of the channel and also increased appointment viewing, as the TAM figures indicate.

As per industry estimates, after the launch of Ultimate Discovery, the channel has also managed to increase its ad rates by 15-20 per cent. Industry sources say that the channel is now asking for a premium of 25-35 per cent on its regular ad rates.

Johri says he believes that the channel's pricing is very competitive, which is working in their favour during a time of global crisis. “We are not thinking about changing our marketing strategy. In fact, all our slots are running packed with advertisements, which shows that our marketing strategy is working fine,” he says.

Bansal seconds his opinion, “Discovery’s inventory is running almost full, which proves that the time band is doing well by them.”

Discovery plans to launch three new channels this year, once they are cleared by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

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