By Ed Attwood
Discovery Network adds two new regional channels, promises to add more local content.
Focus group testing of audiences in the Middle East shows that TV viewers on the whole prefer entertainment rather than fact-based programming, according to an executive from Discovery Networks, the distributor of the popular Discovery Channel.
“South African viewers tend most towards entertainment programming, while at the other end of the scale, Russian audiences much prefer fact-based shows,” Discovery Networks EMEA’s VP head of channels for emerging markets Paul Welling told Arabian Business on Thursday.
“Middle Eastern audiences are closer to South African viewers in that respect and certain genres, such as crime, are also very popular in the region.”
The executive pointed out that Discovery combines both entertainment and factual programming across all its channels.
Welling was visiting Dubai as two new Discovery Networks channels – ID Investigation Discovery and Discovery HD Showcase - launch on Orbit Showtime Network. They join the Discovery Channel, Discovery Science and Animal Planet.
The ID Investigation Discovery channel focuses on crime programming, including forensic investigations, which Welling said was popular with female as well as male viewers in the region, due to its storytelling nature.
“For the Discovery HD Showcase channel, we select the top content from all our networks throughout the US and abroad and group it all into the one channel; it really is the best of the best of our network offerings,” the executive claimed.
Discovery Networks has also been working towards building more local content into its programming. An example of this has been an episode dedicated to the construction of the Al Hamra Tower in Kuwait City for the ‘Build It Bigger’ show.
“In South Africa, our channels have moved to the entertainment section from the documentary section, where we are capable of holding our own against scripted prime-time Hollywood entertainment offerings,” Welling explained.
The executive also added that Discovery Networks took a ‘Trojan horse’ approach to programming; drawing the viewer in via entertainment, but ensuring that the viewer takes facts away from the show afterwards.
can anyone please tell them to add english subtitles so majority of us non-arabic speaking can enjoy the channel as well. We have on evision but never been able to watch it due to lack of subtitle.
This channel is specifically designed and dubbed in arabic for the arabic audience, however there are a number of educational channels such as Natgeo on PAY TV network ART, and NATGEO WILD and all the rest of the discoveries on OSnetwork they have introductory packages through E-VISION which are reasonably priced.