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Discovery India’s digital play targets ‘niche’ segments

The digital channels will be available on Jio Play, YouTube, Vodafone Play and talks are going on with few other platforms too. Veer is a military channel that will showcase content based on armed forces. Rise by TLC will focus on feminist activism

(From L-R) Karan Bajaj, Zulfia Waris and Vednarayan Sirdeshpande at launch of Discovery Communications India Digital Channels

Discovery Communications India (DCIN) has announced its plans to enter the digital space armed with over 40 hours of content on each of the two channels –Veer and Rise – on existing digital platforms. Starting with these two channels on January 26, the network will launch two more – Auto and Food – in April 2018.

These channels will be available on Jio Play, YouTube, Vodafone Play and talks are going on with few other platforms too. Veer is a military channel that will showcase all the content based on military, like the recently ended show titled Breaking Point. “There is a huge affinity for the military content. It is one passionate community building,” said Karan Bajaj, Senior Vice-President and General Manager, Discovery Communications India.

On the other hand, Rise by TLC is a channel that focuses on feminist activism. Rise will host shows like Queens of Comedy season 2 and its spin-off show Kings versus Queens.

With a content library across these areas, DCIN will launch and further develop these special-interest verticals across various social and mobile platforms while also nurturing and nourishing these audience communities with meaningful content. The initiative was launched based on research that shows that 15 per cent of the total digital video consumption in India is happening in the lifestyle/ factual genre, while the leading genre is entertainment and comedy clocking 40 per cent of the digital viewership share. “These figures are encouraging, especially when the lifestyle and factual genre garners less than two per cent of the total viewership on television,” said Bajaj.

DCIN has identified a big market opportunity in this space in India, which has no major at scale digital/ mobile-first channels and all OTT services mostly offer long-form linear content on digital even though the consumption trends indicate that 76 per cent of all online videos watched are short-form (less than 10 minute). The mobile-first channels from DCIN will have bespoke digital-first, mid-form and short-form content. In the first year itself, Veer and Rise will offer over 100 hours of original content in India.

Bajaj said, “We want to sell this content as a single entity that is available on two platforms. We are thrilled to take Discovery digital in India and accelerate engagement with the growing base of young consumers who are increasingly snacking short-form content. These passionate communities form an integral part of the consumption pattern across digital media and we see this trend accentuating further in future. Our digital channels will help us ramp up reach across linear and digital platforms by almost three times making it an irresistible proposition for the advertisers who will now have the option to reach out to premium consumers across our linear network and presence across the most popular social and mobile platforms.”

The content on these platforms is segregated into three segments – Hero, Hub and Hygiene. Hero is a long-form content with 10-15 minute originally produced videos to be released in a frequency of two videos per week. This content will be sold on the basis of linear+digital telecast. Hub, on the other hand, is a mid-format content of 5-10 minute videos that will also have a frequency of two videos being released per week. Hygiene is short format snacky content with 2-5 minute videos wherein one video will be released each day. Hero content takes up 70 per cent of the total cost of content on these platforms, while Hub takes up 20 per cent. Hygiene content is mostly syndicated and licensed content from Discovery’s global network and will take up about 10 per cent of the cost.

Zulfia Waris, Vice-President, Premium and Digital Networks, Discovery Communications India, said, “The clutter breaking digital-first content proposition of Veer by Discovery and Rise by TLC is designed to help us achieve our ambition of being the No. 1 mobile content brand in the country. These will be independent digital channels and not catch-up TV from the best in military to girl power to automobiles and world food, our aim is to create and nurture passionate interest-based communities with edgy world-class content that resonates.”

Content about armed-forces on Discovery Channel has always generated huge interest and rated highly among audiences and the advertising community, making ‘military’ an important programming focus area. DCIN and Twitter India’s deep dive into Indian’s millennials through social media clearly elucidated that India’s are proud nationalists, paving way for the channel that will offer genre-defining content on Indian armed forces. From military strategy, gruelling special-forces training regimes to a deep dive into a soldier’s life and more, Veer is expected to become the go-to destination for military enthusiasts. In the first year itself, the channel will offer more than 550 videos across short-form, mid-form and long-form content (not more than 15 minutes) for the military enthusiasts.

Rise will be a digital-first channel for women, by women. It will give wings to young Indian women with its progressive, clutter-breaking content. It will be a brand with style – no preachy messages, no boring revolution – it will bring alive edgy, ‘girl power’ storytelling. TLC’s female comedy show Queens of Comedy was launched on social media and received extremely enthusiastic response with more than 16 million views across platforms. The show delivered 95 per cent organic views with an impressive time spent of 14 minutes per episode.

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