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DISCOVERY CHANNEL: Engaging in Exploration

"Discovery Channel, the second most widely distributed cable network in the U.S., is dedicated to creating the highest quality non-fiction content that informs and entertains its consumers about the world in all its wonder, diversity and amazement."[1]

brief history [2] 

June 1985: John Hendricks, Founder and Chairman, launches Discovery Channel with 156,000 subscribers in the United States, the first program to air is Iceberg Alley.
April 1989: Discovery Networks International launches Discovery Channel in the United Kingdom.
September 1989: Discovery Channel airs its first original program, Ivory Wars.
May 1991:Discovery Communications acquires The Learning Channel (TLC).
January 1994:Discovery Channel launches in Asia.
February 1994:Discovery Channel launches in Latin America.
June 1996: Discovery Communications launches Animal Planet, the only channel dedicated to the relationship between people and animals.
June 1996: Discovery Communications acquires The Nature Company’s 114 retail stores and launches Discovery Channel Stores.
August 1996:Discovery Communications announces plans to launch five new digital networks: Discovery Science, Discovery Kids, Discovery Civilization, Discovery Home and Leisure and Discovery Wings.

November 1997: The Discovery Channel Global Education Partnership launches its first Learning Center in South Africa.

December 1997: Travel Channel acquired.

March 1998: Discovery Communications forms a global joint venture with the BBC.

June 1998: Discovery en Español launches, making it Discovery Communications’ first Spanish-language channel in the United States.

August 1999: Discovery Communications launches Discovery Health Channel.

March 2000:Discovery Channel breaks the all-time cable ratings record with the premiere of Raising the Mammoth.

April 2000:Discovery Channel’s Walking with Dinosaurs breaks the all-time cable ratings record set by Raising the Mammoth.

April 2000: Discovery Channel reaches 100 million subscribing households in 146 countries outside of the United States, bringing its worldwide count to 178 million.

October 2001: Discovery Channel becomes the world’s most widely distributed television brand, surpassing more than 400 million households reached worldwide.

April 2002: Discovery Communications and The New York Times Company form joint venture to launch the Discovery Times Channel (rebranded from Discovery Civilization).

June 2002: Discovery Communications launches Discovery HD Theater, one of the first 24-hour high definition channels.

October 2002: Discovery Kids and NBC partner to create a three-hour programming block, “Discovery Kids on NBC,” on Saturday mornings.

March 2004: Discovery Communications reaches one billion cumulative subscribers around the world.

March 2004: Discovery Communications creates fourth division, Discovery Education, the go-to source for the next generation of video-based learning

June 2005: Discovery Networks US Hispanic Group launches with two new channels to complement Discovery en Español – Discovery Kids en Español and Discovery Travel & Living (Viajar y Vivir).

January 2006: Discovery Communications announces the launch of the 100th and 101st Discovery networks with the launch of Discovery HD Japan and Discovery HD Canada. 

January 2006:Discovery Communications announces that Ted Koppel will host and produce long-form programming examining major global topics and events exclusively for the Discovery Channel.

March 2006:Discovery Education launches COSMEO, a revolutionary online homework help tool.

April 2006:Discovery Communications brings video content to Google Earth

August 2006: Discovery Communications launches, a direct-to-consumer mobile website featuring downloadable wallpapers, ringtones, podcasts and other special features for cell phones and mobile devices.

May 2007: Discovery Channel’s epic 11-episode Planet Earth series becomes cable’s highest-rated natural history program of all time and the most watched cable event of all time attracting more than 65 million viewers.

May 2007: Discovery Communications announces plans to close its 103 mall-based retail locations to focus on its e-commerce platform and licensing opportunities.

December 2007: Annual revenue for the Discovery Networks International division surpasses $1 billion for the first time.

February 2008: Discovery HD launches in Australia; Discovery is now the number-one international provider of HD networks with services in 17 markets outside of the U.S.: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Sweden and the UK, reaching more than four million subscribers .

September 2008: Discovery Communications begins trading as a public company on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

ownership, conglomeration and related channels  

Discovery Communication owns 13 US cable and satellite television network, reaching about 759 million cumulative subscibers. "The portfolio includes three channels – Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet – that reach over 95 million households and seven channels – Discovery Health, Science Channel, Discovery Kids, Investigation Discovery, Planet Green, Military Channel and FitTV – that reach between 50 and 76 million households."[3] Discovery Communication also possess HD Theatre, Discovery en Espagnol and Discovery Familia

roles in production / distribution / transmission

"Discovery Studios is Discovery’s internal production engine, creating innovative, high-quality original series, specials and short-form content for the family of Discovery networks and digital media, as well as theatrical documentaries released under the award-winning Discovery Films banner.

For 2008, Discovery Studios is slated to work on more than 300 hours of original series, specials and short-form content. These multiplatform projects are slated to appear across the family of Discovery networks, including Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Planet Green, Discovery Health and Military Channel, and will feature high-profile talent, such as Bill Nye, Howie Mandel, Dr. Mehmet Oz and more."[4]

branding strategies

"High-quality, mission-driven programming has been synonymous with Discovery since John Hendricks launched the company’s first network, Discovery Channel, in 1985 with a mission to satisfy curiosity and make a difference in people’s lives. Today, that mission remains the driving force behind the programming strategies across Discovery’s networks as they strive to provide viewers with the highest quality nonfiction content that not only entertains and engages, but also enlightens, educates and inspires positive action."[5]

specific target audience(s);

scheduling and promotional techniques;

One program for the evening, air shows by 2 hours sections. American Chopper and Cash Cab every week day in the afternoon/early evening.[6]

signature programming and genre trends

"Popular returning and new series include Deadliest Catch, MythBusters, Dirty Jobs, Man Vs. Wild, Stormchasers and Swamp Loggers. Discovery Channel is also home to high-profile specials and mini-series, including the critically acclaimed Planet Earth, When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions and Life."[7]

advertising strategies;


  1. Discovery Channel
  2. Discovery Channel's HistoryfckLR
  3. Dicovery Communications' U.S. Network
  4. Discovery Studios
  5. "Engaging and Enlightening with Mission-Driven Content"fckLR
  6. TV schedule weekly
  7. Discovery Channel's signature programsfckLR