Green Machine On Tour

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Anticipating an early 2008 “greening” of Discovery Home Channel — likely slated for relaunch as Planet Green — Discovery Networks U.S. is trying to engage affiliates and consumers with eco-friendly initiatives this summer.

On the docket: a push to help operators market their paperless-billing options to subscribers; new customizable local ad spots toward green living; and a more prominent position at the network's annual Animal Planet Expo.

“As a media company, we're the company best-positioned to really take a leadership position in the eco-space,” Discovery Communications senior vice president of affiliate marketing Michael Snyder said, adding that the goal is two-fold: to help consumers find ways to improve the environment while helping distributors drive business.

The first initiative could incorporate multiplatform efforts toward enhancing existing paperless campaigns by various operators. “Most of these companies, the main focus of their message to consumers is not so much focused on the ecological message — it's more focused on a convenience message,” Snyder said. “So who better than Discovery Networks and Planet Green to frame this for our distributors?”

To that end, the 50 million-home network is offering to tailor cross-channel spots, as well as Web and phone campaigns, to individual operators with a focus on the environmental benefits of paperless billing and statements. Snyder said distributors were at varying levels of commitment to such campaigns, but wouldn't yet say who had signed on.

The other ad portion of Discovery's Planet Green push comes in the form of affiliate-taggable eco-tips, which the network expects will educate consumers on green living, drive business for affiliates and drive traffic to Planet Green.

“We're going to be the channel you turn to and the company you turn to if you want to know what's happening in terms of saving the environment,” Snyder said. Discovery hasn't produced the spots yet, but plans a format similar to those of previous local ad campaigns.

Finally, Discovery will hype Planet Green in select markets via its 10th annual Animal Planet Expo, a multi-city tour that kicked off Memorial Day weekend. With a long-term goal of fully incorporating the new channel into the expo, Discovery this year will bring Planet Green to the events in Tampa, Fla.; Washington, D.C.; Boston; Denver; Hartford, Conn.; Houston; Minneapolis; Philadelphia; San Francisco; and Seattle.

“We get nearly 300,000 people per year showing up in all the combined markets,” Snyder said. “So what we've done is very quickly turned around and brought in a Planet Green component.”

The network will install Planet Green receptacles for recycling old cellular phones, batteries and printer cartridges; provide tips on how attendees can get green in their daily lives; and give away Planet Green Frisbees made from recycled plastic and seed packs made from recycled paper.

In addition, a multimedia Planet Green bus will make the tour, toting an HD monitor to broadcast eco-tips and affiliate-tagged spots.

The latest Discovery promos come on the heels of the network's $50 million pledge toward green programming via the new dedicated channel and other platforms, as well as the recent success of Planet Earth, the 11-part documentary nature series that brought in more than 65 million cumulative viewers in all dayparts.

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