Discovery Channel debuted in India two decades ago, and has launched 11 channels since then. Rahul Johri, EVP and GM-South Asia, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, is positive about the appetite for factual content in the Indian television market.
“We have grown from one to 11 channels. This shows the appetite for factual content in this market. Our viewership has grown three to four times over the last five years and we reach 267 million cumulative households now. This gave us the confidence to launch more channels,” he said.
Attributing the 'non-fluctuating' and 'loyal' viewership to staying the course on brand promise, Johri noted that India is one of the top 10 markets for the company. “India is a key priority market for the company else we wouldn’t have grown to 11 channels in a decade. It is a robust business, and that is why we are continuously investing in the market."
Digitisation has also provided the boost required for the genre, added Johri. “Digitalising is a great opportunity for channels like ours. That is one trajectory of growth. As the country becomes more digital, there will be demand for more mature content. Today we are very well-poised to take advantage of digitalisation,” he stated.
The spokesperson further contended that pay television will have to become primary source of revenue in the future for broadcasters.
He reasoned, "Just being dependent on one source of revenue is a flawed model. If you think advertising income will grow y-o-y till infinity, you are not insulating yourself from the cycles of business. Robust pay television is the way forward. Quality content can be created only in a pay television scenario.”
The network's focus will be on consolidating its three most recent channels (ID, TLC HD World and Animal Planet HD World) before it plans more launches in the country.