Discovery's Upfront Pitch Touts Global Reach, Domestic Audiences

Discovery Networks is positioning itself this upfront season as the place to be for advertisers looking for global reach.

In its presentation to advertisers, the company is talking up its growing footprint abroad, while at the same time promoting its domestic networks for the specific audiences they attract.

"We have a great portfolio of assets to bring to our advertisers," said Discovery Communications President and CEO David Zaslav Thursday morning at a breakfast event in Manhattan, where the company showed this year's presentation to the press.

"We're going to agencies and giving them a full, in-depth look at everything we have," he added.

"Our primary focus is growing our audiences around the world," he said of Discovery Networks, which consists mainly of Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC, Investigation Discovery (ID), OWN, American Heroes Channel, Destination America, Velocity, Discovery Life, Discovery Family and Science Channel.



"Our market share outside the U.S. grew over 10% [in the past year]," Zaslav said. "We're in 220 countries, and we have, on average, 12 channels [in each of them]. We're the most global media company in the world."

Domestically, Discovery is pitching the audiences its networks attract. For example, the network is claiming leadership in attracting men with Discovery Channel and its lineup of car shows and workplace reality shows such as the venerable "Deadliest Catch."

The company is touting ID's female audience, thanks to its true-crime programming. Discovery is also playing up the appeal of TLC's non-scripted shows about people who are "different" -- from dwarfs to the morbidly obese -- to viewers in the heartland or "middle America," as Discovery puts it.

And OWN is being promoted as the leading TV network for reaching African-American women.

Part of Discovery's strategy is to continue to invest heavily in new programming across all of its networks, Zaslav said. "We’re very focused on putting our content on brands and nourishing an audience that comes to us and has a sense of what they’re going to get," he said, articulating one of the key points in Discovery's pitch to advertisers this upfront season.

Backing up its commitment to producing new content, Discovery kicked off its upfront efforts with a slew of new programming announcements aimed, in part, at limiting the number of repeats viewers will encounter on Discovery's networks, officials said.

The new shows include:

On Discovery: "Sacred Steel," a new unscripted show about a group of custom-motorcycle designers; and "Cooper's Treasure," a reality series about the search for a secret fortune supposedly hidden somewhere on Earth by the late Apollo astronaut Gordon Cooper.

On Animal Planet: "The Zoo," a reality series based at the Bronx Zoo in New York; and "Life of Dogs," a wide-ranging look at man's relationship with canines.

On TLC: "Project Playhouse," about a group of builders who specialize in designing and constructing elaborate, luxurious backyard play spaces for children; and "Married to Design," a home-improvement show featuring celebrity designer Nate Berkus.

TLC also announced it is developing its first-ever scripted series. Few details about the show were revealed except for its title, "Too Close to Home," and its creator, Tyler Perry.

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