Testing the theory that there is no such thing as too much animal footage, Discovery Communications just debuted Animal Planet L!VE -- a network
of unfiltered, round-the-clock Web streams, featuring the world’s wildest (and sometimes cutest) fauna.
JB Perrette, Chief Digital Officer at Discovery Communications, said live animal cams -- including an existing Penguin Cam and Shark Cam -- have become an essential component of company’s digital strategy.
“Live is a key way that we connect with our audiences,” Perrette said.
Powered by UStream, animal fans will initially have access to 11 live HD cameras, including an “Ant Cam” located in the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans; a “Beluga Cam” featuring whales from the Vancouver Aquarium; and a Calf “Cam” placed in the South Mountain Creamery in Middletown, Maryland.
Accessible via consumers’ computers, tablets, smartphones and connected TVs, Animal Planet L!VE will be sustained through partnerships with the Audubon Nature Institute, Explore.org, National Acquarium, South Mountain Creamery and Washington Animal Rescue League.
The live, streaming network comes on the eve of what is expected to be a big upfront for Discovery Communications. Among its costlier endeavors, the company plans to debut "Klondike" -- a miniseries directed by Ridley Scott and starring Abbie Cornish, Ian Hart and Tim Roth.
But, while Animal Planet L!VE may be one of Discovery’s smaller investments, the business of live streaming video is bigger than ever.
During the 2012 holiday season, for instance, video distribution platform Ooyala reported that consumers watched live video on desktops 18 times longer than VOD content.