Discovery Communications allows viewers to go on safari without ever having to leave their couch. It is the world's #1 non-fiction media company, with more than 150 worldwide cable TV networks, including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and The Learning Channel (TLC). Among its US joint venture networks are The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), The Hub, and 3net (the first 24-hour 3D network). Discovery Communications reaches more than 2.2 billion subscribers in more than 220 countries. In addition, the company offers educational products and services to school; a diverse set of digital media services; and online content through Discovery.com and AnimalPlanet.com.
The company distributes customized content throughout the US and in more than 200 countries and territories in over 40 languages. US networks accounted for more than 60% of revenue in fiscal 2012.
Discovery's flagship Discovery Channel, offers a mix of adventure, science, and history programming. Its TLC network concentrates on personal interest shows. Animal Planet highlights programming related to wildlife and pets, while other channels include Investigation Discovery, Science Channel, and Military Channel.
Sales and Marketing
The company cites the popularity of non-fiction programming as a key factor in its success; Discovery has carved out its leading position in the TV business by focusing on non-fiction and reality-based shows that mix entertainment and educational content.
Discovery's revenue increased by 23%, to $5.535 billion in fiscal 2013 compared to $4.487 billion in fiscal 2012. The spike was largely due to increases in revenue from the company's Distribution and Advertising segments.
Discovery's net income increased by about 14%, to $1.075 billion in fiscal 2013 compared to $943 million in fiscal 2012. The improvement was the result of the increased total annual revenue combined with fewer capital expenditures and steady expenses.
Like rival cable programmers such as Viacom and A&E Television Networks, Discovery uses its portfolio of channels to segment its audience by programming each network around specific interests. The strategy gives each of Discovery's channels a distinct identity and simplifies the company's marketing efforts. It also increases the value of commercial air time for advertisers trying to reach those audiences. Discovery generates the lion's share of its revenue through advertising and carriage fees paid by cable system operators.
In 2013 Discovery Communications launched its first online video network, airing content aimed at a young, male audience of science and adventure enthusiasts. Called TestTube, the network runs original online shows, available free on its website and via platforms such as YouTube and the Xbox.