(Last Updated on : 02/09/2011)
Discovery Channel is a satellite TV channel which is distributed by Discovery Communications. The Discovery Channel has gained great popularity amongst all age groups all over the world including India. Founded by John Hendricks, this American based cable TV channel comprise of programs which are similar to documentaries. The programs revolve around specific topics of interest and the corresponding narration follows the visuals. The flagship channel of `Discovery Communications` was launched in the year 1985 which later took the name of `Discovery Channel`. The Discovery Channel, having its headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, started to operate in India in the year 1995, and reached ten million households four years later, which is approximately 25 percent of the channel`s reach in the United States market. By the year 2002, Discovery entered India operations to double to some 20 million households, consisting of about 100 million cable viewers. The programs aired in India possess at least 10 percent culturally neutral content. It has something for everyone as a provider of wholesome `edutainment`. At present, Discovery Channel globally provides 29 network brands covering 33 languages.
The Discovery Channel has grown significantly and during its journey, it has always presented its viewers with knowledgeable contents. This channel today reaches over 431 million homes in around 170 countries. Discovery Networks International offers 19 television brands, and thus reaches around 746 million cumulative subscribers. Three Discovery brands in India reach 79.5 million cumulative subscribers with programming available in English and Hindi Language
. Discovery Channel has had distinguished parameters when it comes to programs with an Indian context and contemporary foreign programs. They are well composed, visually appealing, authentic and also supported with Indian languages voice over.
Discovery Channel was previously known for its nature and animal programming; however, it has also started to offer programs based on non-fiction that focused primarily on the themes of history, popular science and knowledge about the different countries of the world. Whereas previously the channel was known solely for its science documentaries and now it includes a blend of reality shows and documentaries.
Some of the famous programs on the Discovery Channel today includes Shark Week, an annual week of programming dedicated to facts about sharks; Deadliest Catch, about fishing for crab in the Bering Sea; popular science show Myth Busters; Dirty Jobs about difficult jobs; and Future Weapons, about the weapon technology of the future. Temple of Apollo `Colours of India`, airs every Monday and showcases different hues of India and provides an unprecedented access to the new and the old India. Viewers get to go behind the world`s second largest mass rapid transit system - `The Delhi Metro` and get to witness the `Other Side of Outsourcing` with Thomas Friedman. Other programs on this channel include `Painted Nation`, an analytical look at the vanishing hand-painted commercial art of India and what is replacing it. `Spiritual Nation` is aired on this channel and it takes the viewer on a journey across the country to experience some of its unique faiths, rituals and beliefs. Some of the other programs include `Lost Temples of India` and `Valley of the Gods`.
Programs such as Jeremy Piven`s Journey of a Lifetime and Himalaya with Adventure of Bhutan Michael Palin form a fundamental part of this channel curriculum. On every Thursday is `Wild India`, a comprehensive guide to the wild side. Other programs are `Ladakh - The Forbidden Wilderness` and `In the Pink`, a story about 20,000 flamingos descending on the city of Mumbai
Virtual History, on Discovery Channel, is the first TV documentary to completely reconstruct the secret plot to kill Hitler, a key moment in history that was never originally caught on film. A conscious blunder of programs with Indian content and contemporary themes has helped Discovery Channel to maintain a sustained viewer ship. The Discovery Channel carved out a unique educational niche among other entertainment-oriented channels like STAR TV
, Zee-TV and Sony TV
. The Discovery Channel judiciously focused on expanding its viewer ship among children by sponsoring a number of interschool quiz programs, and launching educator guides to help teachers use the channel as an educational resource. To widen its subscriber base, Discovery Channel has customized its programs in India by either dubbing them in Hindi or providing Hindi voiceovers. The great experience of Discovery Channel in India demonstrates that a significant number of viewers heartily consume educational content, provided that it is of high quality and also in their own language. Most of the viewers in India like Discovery Channel very much for its cultural and aesthetic nature.