Discovery Greatly Widens Offerings

Discovery Communications, the company behind cable networks like the Discovery Channel and Travel Channel, yesterday announced it was extending its broadband reach with the unveiling of two broadband only channels. Also announced were plans to make available a mobile version of their content as well as adding some of their videos to Google Earth.

Discovery’s new broadband channels, said the television programming company, are Discovery Channel Beyond and Travel Channel Beyond. Set to be publicly unveiled April 15, these two channels will be available at the Discovery Web site and will offer hundreds of original and exclusive short-form programs as well as user-generated documentaries. These ad-supported broadband networks look to be free, with Discovery Channel Beyond launching with video focusing on its core genres of exploration, science and natural history while Travel Channel Beyond focuses on “informative and compelling” content based on “popular global destinations and vacation ideas”.

Broadband channels for TLC, Animal Planet and Discovery Health Channel will launch in the coming months, adding to the expanding online presence Discovery Communications has. The broadband offerings are being powered by Brightcove, an Internet TV service.

Also announced was the launch of Discovery Mobile. This weekly updated offering for mobile phones will debut in the third quarter of this year and will feature original content from across Discovery’s various program genres, such as science, technology, travel, health, animals and nature. It will be designed and programmed with mobile users in mind, featuring content segments ranging in length from 30 seconds to four minutes, categorized into 20-minute blocks. It will be targeted to a younger demographic, users aged 15-39.

Rounding out Discovery’s announcements this week is their deal with leading search engine Google about placement of their videos within the popular Google Earth satellite-imagery mapping service. Under the terms of this relationship, Discovery will provide streaming video about locations around the world including popular destinations, historic sites and natural wonders, among others. Initially available will be video showcasing 10 of America’s National Parks, including Yellowstone; Mount Rushmore; and Dinosaur National Park. By clicking on Discovery’s globe icon shown at destination sites at which Discovery video content is available, Google Earth users will launch an interactive broadband player hosted by Discovery that will enable them to select from several two- to four-minute videos.