On June 1st, 1996 Discovery Communications launched Animal Planet as the only channel to explore the relationship between people and animals or as its website states:
“Animal Planet…is the world’s only entertainment brand that immerses viewers in the full range of life in the animal kingdom with rich, deep content on multiple platforms. APM [Animal Planet Media] offers animal lovers and pet owners access to a centralized online, television and mobile community for immersive, engaging, high-quality entertainment, information and enrichment.”
Animal Planet was born into Discovery Communications’ family of channels including, at the time, The Learning Channel and the Discovery Channel. Just 4 years after Animal Planet was born it broke the 100 million subscribing household mark globally. Discovery Communications went on to acquire The Travel Channel and launch channels including Discovery Kids and Discovery Health Channel. In 2007, the success of the Discovery Communications networks earned it the most nominations ever, eighteen, for the 18th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards.
Production & Programming
Discovery Communications owns its own production studio, Discovery Studios. It creates originial series, specials and short-form content for all of its channels. It also produces theatrical documentaries under the banner: Discovery Films. The only series currently airing on Animal Planet produced by Discovery Studios is Into the Pride. Perusal on the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), however, will reveal that Discovery Studios produces a majority of the specials and documentaries that air on the channel. The other series in Animal Planet's line-up are produced by independent studios such as: Powderhouse Productions, Gurney Productions, and Intuitive Entertainment. The list goes on. Common clients between these independent studios listed on their websites are MTV, A&E, and the Food Network.
After a 9% drop in primetime viewing in 2007, Animal Planet underwent a makeover to increase viewership. Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manage of Animal Planet Media said,
"We feel a little too human, a little too soft, a little too all-family and not powerful enough. We're being more aggressive and tapping into the instinctual nature of compelling animal content."
The channel wanted to replace its paternalistic and preachy image with a more entertaining and edgier one beginning February 3rd, 2008, by debuting eight new series and specials. Rather than targeting full families, this makeover would specifically target 25-49 year olds. Included in this transformation was the replacement of the elephant and globe logo with a words-only logo that would be placed over a number of animal photographs. This rebranding of Animal Planet continues today with its new slogan, "Surprisingly Human" mentioned in an April 2010 press release by the network emphasizing Kaplan's assertion that, "There is no human world separate from the animal world."