Discovery bullish on kids & original programming in India
Discovery Communications to invest more in animation, phasing out Hindi venture Jeet.
The world’s largest factual entertainment network in terms of viewership is also gearing up to launch a video streaming service early next year in India.
“We have identified key priorities for the next 12-18 months,” Discovery India managing director for South Asia Megha Tata told ET. “These include driving leadership in infotainment genre by adding fewer but bigger Indian IPs; growing kids channel to make it a formidable player in the top three by investing big on local and new IPs; and driving our direct-to-consumer proposition in the country. I am super excited about it.”
For Tata, the first priority is to become “absolute undisputed leaders” in the factual entertainment space when it comes to Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.
“Globally, there is a change happening on the content front with large investments in bringing back the original DNA content of Discovery, bringing that amazing, brilliant product into the country. Also, in India, we will be doing bigger IPs and make content, which has never been seen before,” she said.
The second thing, she said, is the opportunity in the kids’ space. Discovery Kids has seen a sharp rise in viewership with Indian IP ‘Little Singham’. Now the company wants to double down investments in Indian animation. “There is an opportunity to grow Kids further. We are going to be the biggest investor in Indian animation to support the content proposition for this genre,” Tata said.
‘Little Singham’ has 156 episodes and it will be doubled by next year. Discovery will also invest in a new IP which, she said, is going to be different and unconventional.
Tata said the business of entertainment is changing from business-to-business (B2B) to direct-to-consumer (D2C) side. “So, we are moving in that direction globally. Discovery is actually moving from the transition to a transformation phase... We will be launching a very differentiated service — both advertising-led and subscription-led — which will have a huge content library.”
Discovery has over 300,000 hours of content and adds around 8,000 hours of original content annually. “All of the content will not be dumped on the service. We will identify content which is apt for the Indian audience across languages,” she said.
Tata said that Jeet, the Hindi general entertainment channel it launched last year, will not be revived. “There is no intention to resurrect Jeet. That is going to play its course out.”
There is no decision on the sports channel DSports yet. “We were very clear that it was not going to be the big sports playout. DSports is doing what it’s supposed to do. There is no decision yet on whether we want to scale it up or keep it the way it is,” Tata said.