| Today's announcement is part of a series of other similar
channel launches as outlined by Dawn L. McCall, president of Discovery
Networks International, in June when he had told international media,
"We saw a real opportunity in the market. A lot of people have
been dabbling in (lifestyle); no one has been really willing to commit
the dollars necessary to really build this segment of the business."
According to McCall, "India, with its growing and dynamic
TV market and emerging middle-class, is the right place to begin
Discovery Networks' new lifestyle endeavour."
On cue, Discovery India's executive vice-president and MD Deepak
Shourie today told journalists, "I think the time in India
has come for this type of a channel." He also added that the
company hopes to "create a set of channels to take documentary
(making) and non-fiction to new heights."
The other two channels, to be formed from existing networks Discovery
Travel & Adventure, Discovery H & L and Discovery Health,
may be launched in India later, but Shourie did not offer any other
detail. As a natural progression, some programmes that are now seen
on Discovery Channel in India would migrate to the new channel.
Discovery Travel and Living will be distributed in India by One
Alliance. Shourie, however, did not divulge the price of this proposed
The company expects the channel to provide a new and unique platform
for advertisers by targeting a discerning audience comprising upscale
and young adults with active interests in the age group of 18-45.
It is also likely to expands Discovery's ability to attract new
audiences and advertisers who have traditionally not advertised
on Discovery (high-end watch companies like Tag Heur) as traditionally
lifestyle advertising has been in print due
to lack of focused TV platforms, Discovery India executives claimed.
How has the Indian consumer changed? Making a presentation today,
Discovery India said consumption no longer is just a function of
income as there are 10 million credit card holders; disposable income
has risen by over 270 per cent since 1990; dual income families
are now a widespread urban phenomenon and there is a fundamental
shift in consumption patterns of the Indian consumer.
"Despite the rapid growth of television industry in India,
advertising spends on lifestyle brands have traditionally been restricted
to the print medium," Shourie said, adding, "Discovery
Travel and Living will provide advertisers with a dynamic media
vehicle to reach a well targeted and defined viewership profile."
Some more figures to validate why Discovery Travel and Living is
making its international debut in India:
In the 1990s, organised retail added 1 mn sq
feet space per year.
In 2003, 10 mn sq ft was added, while in 2004-05, about
40 mn sq ft is expected to be added. According to Shourie, when
his colleagues from the parent company came to India, they were
taken to Gurgaon, on the outskirts of Delhi, where a mall mania
is sweeping the region. "Seeing the place and the growth, they
were convinced that Discovery Travel and Living should debut in
India first," Shourie said as an aside.
The new channel is targeted at upscale urban households across
the country (18-20 million households by October, said Shourie)
with a cosmopolitan outlook. The treatment of the channel and its
programming would be aspirational, glamorous and smart.
The programming genres will include travel, health & well-being,
food & cuisine, automotive & motoring, home design &
décor, hobbies and outdoor leisure. "Local (Indian)
programming would be introduced in 2005, which would be acquired,"
Some of the programmes that are likely to be seen on the new channel
include Celebrity Travelogues, Globetrekker, Floyd's India, Cooking
for Love (a blind date show blended with cookery), Date Patrol,
Biker Build-Off, He's Gotta Have It, Great Vacation Homes,
Superhomes, Other Peoples' Homes, While You Were Out, The Chris
Lowell Show, Tim Brooke-Taylor's Golf Clubs and World Poker Tour.