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DISCOVERY PLANS VOD EXPANSION IN 2005

Jan 16, 2005  •  Post A Comment

While Discovery was one of the last programmers out of the gate with a video-on-demand offering last fall, it is making up for lost time with ambitious on-demand plans for 2005.

As part of its on-demand growth strategy, Discovery Communications recently created a new VOD programming post and shifted Doug Craig from VP of programming at Animal Planet to VP of VOD programming for the company.

“He is very familiar with the [Discovery] programming library and that is no small feat, considering we have over 100,000 hours,” said Clint Stinchcomb, senior VP of Discovery HD Theater and VOD.

The new post is particularly important, since Discovery plans to expand its VOD offerings beyond the 75 hours per month from its 13 networks that it offers today. “We are talking about rolling out [subscription VOD] and even hybrids within that. … Not everything is going to fit neatly into free on-demand or subscription on-demand,” Mr. Stinchcomb said. He also anticipates t-commerce opportunities for some content, particularly fitness- or travel-related material, in which a viewer could purchase products from the on-demand platform.

While recent industry sentiment has suggested that ad-supported VOD will emerge as the mechanism by which programmers will monetize their on-demand investments, Discovery also contends there is a role for subscription content, especially given that it has a successful DVD business for its megahit shows “Monster Garage,” “Trading Spaces” and “Walking With Dinosaurs.”

“The point I am trying to make is we are going to do a lot more in the on-demand space,” he said. “[The appointment of Mr. Craig] underscores the importance we place on the VOD space. On-demand viewership is only going to increase, and we want to make sure we work closely on VOD.” n

-DAISY WHITNEY