Discovery’s Web Efforts Get Big Lift From Google

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New York— Discovery Communications Inc. was the first cable programmer to develop digital-cable channels and video-on-demand content, but founder John Hendricks and his team have taken a much more cautious approach to supplying video for the Web and cell phones.

The Silver Spring, Md.-based programmer hit the accelerator last week, forging a deal to provide streaming video to Google Inc., taking steps to expand its presence on mobile phones and launching broadband extensions to Discovery Channel and Travel Channel.

GOOGLING PARKS

Discovery cut a deal with Google to allow users of its Google Earth service to access dozens of the programmer’s videos when they scout Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, Mount Rushmore and seven other U.S. national parks.

Discovery’s brand and globe icon will be featured on the Google Earth home page, and Web surfers will be able to access the content by clicking on the globe.

The move also shows how Google could integrate local advertising into Google Earth, which Discovery will also look to get a cut of, through Google Earth videos hosted on the cable programmer’s servers.

Deals for similar video offerings from 50 other locations worldwide are in the works, according to Discovery officials.

Senior executive vice president for strategy and development Don Baer said Discovery’s broadband approach with the Discovery Channel Beyond and Travel Channel Beyond Web channels, linked through Discovery.com, is similar to MTV Networks’ strategy with MTV Overdrive and Comedy Central Motherload. The video is free and ad-supported.

Discovery, which plans to launch Web channels for TLC, Animal Planet and Discovery Health Channel later this year, expects to see “significant” revenue from Internet advertising, Baer said.

Content includes behind-scenes footage and bloopers from shows such as Discovery’s Dirty Jobs and Deadliest Catch and Travel Channel’s Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and 5 Takes.

Discovery also plans to roll out a 24-hour Discovery Mobile network targeted at carriers such as Sprint Nextel, Verizon Wireless and others during the third quarter.

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