On the Marquee: HD Theater’s Clint Stinchcomb

Mar 27, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The player: Clint Stinchcomb, executive VP and general manager for Discovery Communications’ HD Theater and Turbo Media
The play: Mr. Stinchcomb has helped HD Theater grow from its 2002 launch to its current status (alongside ESPN HD) as the most widely distributed satellite high-definition channel in the U.S. HD Theater produces about 300 hours of original programming a year, ranging from its globe-trotting “Sunrise Earth” to its “Mecum Auto Auction: Muscle Cars and More” series, which premieres this week. Discovery Communications owners Advance/Newhouse and Discovery Holding Co. are planning to take the company public this year. By 2012, HD Theater is expected to overtake ESPN HD as the most lucrative high-definition cable channel, with annual revenue more than tripling to about $350 million, according to research firm SNL Kagan.
The pitch: Along with sister networks Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, HD Theater is trying to build its audience by showcasing its destination-based programming exclusively in true high definition, with no up-conversions. “When we launched this thing, we had been building up an HD library for several years,” Mr. Stinchcomb said. “We thought Americans were on an unrelenting quest for picture quality.”
The challenge: Viewers with a broader choice of travel-related programming expect progressively more exotic locales for series such as “Sunrise Earth,” which Mr. Stinchcomb called “an absolute home run for HD.” Programming also is being broadened with shows such as the muscle car auction and “Risk Takers,” which profiles dangerous professions such as firefighting and alligator trapping.
Backstory: Mr. Stinchcomb has worked for Discovery for more than 15 years, starting out in sales and marketing for the western U.S. and eventually working on video-on-demand programming before starting HD Theater. The 41-year-old married father of three grew up in Wilton, Maine, attended Dartmouth College and now is based in Silver Spring, Md.


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