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Discovery Communications, Inc.
Type Public
Predecessor Discovery Holding Company
Founded June 17, 1985
Founder(s) John S. Hendricks
Headquarters United States Silver Spring, MD, USA
Area served Worldwide
Key people John S. Hendricks
Chairman of the Board
Industry Broadcasting & Cable TV
Products Media Holding Company
Revenue $ 3.036 billion - 2008
Operating income $ 1.057 billion - 2008
Net income $ 317.00 million - 2008
Total assets $ 10.484 billion - 2008
Total equity $ 5.536 billion - 2008
Employees 4,000 - June 2009
Divisions List of Divisions

Discovery Communications, Inc. (DCI) (NASDAQDISCA, NASDAQDISCB, NASDAQDISCK) is an American global media and entertainment company. The company started as a single channel in 1985, The Discovery Channel. Today, DCI has global operations offering 29 network entertainment brands on over 100 channels in over 170 countries in 33 languages for over 1.5 billion subscribers around the globe.[1] Discovery Communications is based in Silver Spring, Maryland. The company's slogan is: "The number-one nonfiction media company."[2]

DCI both produces original programming and acquires content from producers worldwide. This non-fiction programming is offered through DCI's 28 network entertainment brands, including Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Discovery Health Channel and a family of digital channels. DCI also distributes BBC America and BBC World to cable and satellite operators in the United States.


Corporate governance

Discovery Communications headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.


Judith McHale was President and Chief Executive Officer until NBC Universal executive David Zaslav took over the position on November 16, 2006. [5]

In February 2007, Zaslav ordered a restructuring of the top executives. The executives leaving include: Billy Campbell, former president of Discovery Networks U.S.A., Dawn McCall, former president of Discovery Networks International, Maureen Smith, former president and general manager of Animal Planet and David Abraham, former president and general manager of TLC.

Zaslav hired Greg Ricca to run Discovery Networks Intl. as president and CEO. He promoted Mark Hollinger to president of global businesses and Operations, Marjorie Kaplan to president and general manager of Animal Planet Media and Discovery Kids Media, and Jane Root to prexy general manager of the Discovery Channel and the Science Channel. [6]


Prior to September 18, 2008, DCI's ownership consisted of three shareholders:

On December 13, 2007, Discovery Holding Company announced a restructuring plan. Under the plan, the Discovery Holding's Ascent Media business would be spun-off, and the remaining businesses, Discovery Communications, LLC and Advance/Newhouse Communications, would be combined into a new holding company [8]. The reorganization was completed on September 17, 2008. The new Discovery Communications, Inc. is now fully public company and trades on the NASDAQ stock market.


DCI operates its businesses in four groups: Discovery Networks U.S., Discovery Networks International, Discovery Commerce, and Discovery Education.

Discovery Networks U.S.

The company started out with just a single channel, Discovery Channel, launched in 1985. In 1991, they acquired their rival The Learning Channel.

In the mid-90s, Discovery Communications started developing several new networks. The first of these to launch was Animal Planet, which was launched in cooperation with the BBC in 1996. In October 1996, four digital networks were launched: Discovery Kids Channel, Discovery Travel & Living Network, Discovery Civilization Network and Discovery Science Network.[3] This was followed by the 1998 launches of Discovery Wings Channel and Discovery Health Channel.

They also bought the Travel Channel in 1997, CBS Eye on People (became Discovery People) in 1998 and The Health Network (became FitTV) in 2001.

Discovery Networks were early to go into high-definition television with the launch of Discovery HD Theater in 2002. With the launch of high-definition simulcasts of Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and Science Channel in 2007, the original HD channel changed its name to HD Theater.

All of the channels are in the process of being overhauled and "made over".[9] The networks have evolved from being offshoots of the Discovery Channel, into separate entities with their identities. The "Discovery" moniker has gradually been dropped from channel names. For some time, some networks kept the globe in their logo to signal their affiliation to Discovery Networks, but this practice has also been gradually discontinued.

Discovery Networks U.S. operates 13 channels [10]. According to SEC filings, the division "also operates web sites related to its channel businesses and various other new media businesses, including a video-on-demand offering distributed by various cable operators."

The division's channels include:

Channel Launch Date US Households[4] HD Simulcast Notes
Discovery Channel 1985 99 million Yes
TLC 1972 98 million Yes acquired by Discovery Communications in May 1991, previously known as The Learning Channel.
Animal Planet 1996 96 million Yes
Discovery Health Channel 1999 73 million Yes To be replaced by OWN
Discovery Kids 1996 56 million Yes To be replaced by The Hub
Science Channel 1996 57 million Yes
Investigation Discovery 1996 53 million No Formerly Discovery Times, Discovery Civilization, Discovery People, and CBS Eye on People
Military Channel 2005 54 million No Formerly Discovery Wings
Planet Green 1998 46 million Yes Formerly Discovery Home and Discovery Home and Leisure
FitTV 2003 41 million No Formerly America's Health Network
HD Theater 2002 25 million N/A Broadcasts in HD 24 hours per day
Discovery en Español 1998 8 million No Spanish-language version of the Discovery Channel
Discovery Familia 2007 3 million No

Discovery Networks International

Discovery Networks International, or Discovery international networks offers "a portfolio of channels, led by Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, that are distributed in virtually every pay-television market in the world." The division offers over 100 separate feeds in 35 languages with "channel feeds customized according to language needs and advertising sales opportunities."[11]

DCI owns most channels offered by Discovery Networks International, with the exception of:

  • (1) the international Animal Planet channels, which are "generally 50-50 joint ventures with the BBC"[12]
  • (2) People+Arts, which "operates in Latin America and Iberia as a 50-50 joint venture with the BBC"
  • (3) several channels in Japan and Canada, which "operate as joint ventures with strategically important local partners."

"As with the U.S. networks division, the international networks operate web sites and other new media businesses."

On January 10, 2006, the Discovery Networks International announced[13] a joint-venture with Spiegel TV and DCTF to provide global free-to-air television to more than 20 million households in Germany and neighboring countries.

Discovery International Channels include [14]:

Discovery Commerce

Discovery Commerce operates a catalog and electronic commerce business (located at[15]) offering lifestyle, health, science and education-oriented products, as well as products specifically related to programming on Discovery's networks. In addition, the e-commerce site serves as a licensing business that licenses Discovery trademarks and intellectual property to third parties for the purpose of creating and selling retail merchandise. The Discovery shopping website offers products similar to those previously sold in the Discovery Channel retail stores. Recently the Discovery Channel retail stores were closed, however, the products are still available online.

Discovery Education

Discovery Education is a division which offers "streaming educational video material into schools via the internet." Discovery Education operates unitedstreaming, a "leading educational broadband streaming service in the United States." In April 2006, Discovery Education acquired a premier assessment company, ThinkLink Learning, which is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Now called Discovery Education Assessments, the program is designed to help students improve on state standardized tests.

Discovery Education also sells DVD, VHS, CD-ROM, and Multimedia kits with the same content.

Other products include COSMEO -an online homework subscription help site, Discovery Health Connection, Discovery Science Connection and they recently purchased other video streaming companies.

They have two free services. One is their website, Discovery School and the other is a teacher community, the Discovery Educator Network, commonly referred to as the DEN.

Other interests

On October 15, 2007, Discovery Communications completed their purchase of HowStuffWorks for US$250 million.[5] The company later chose to use the name HowStuffWorks as the title of a television series on Discovery Channel. The series, which focuses on commodities,[6] premiered in November 2008 and is similar in style and content to other "how it works" programs like Modern Marvels.[7]

On March 17, 2009, Discovery revealed that it owned the rights to several patents related to e-books, in announcing a patent infringement lawsuit against, maker of the Kindle e-book reading device. The patents were originally developed by the company's founder John Hendricks; the specific patent in question in the suit was applied for in 1999 but issued in late 2007.[8][9]

On April 30, 2009, it was announced that Hasbro will acquire a 50% stake in Discovery Kids. The resulting joint-venture will relaunch the channel under a new name in 2010. Discovery will oversee ad sales and distribution, while Hasbro will be responsible for programming.[10][11]


Visual effects artists who worked for the now bankrupt Meteor Studios, a company established by Discovery Communications of Virginia and Evergreen Films of Pacific Palisades, have not been paid fully for their work on Journey to the Center of the Earth.[12][13][14] Maryland-based Discovery VP and spokesperson Katie Wolfgang has stated that Discovery holds a "passive non-controlling interest" in Meteor, and that "matters related to the management of Meteor Studios, its employees and operations were handled by Meteor Studios' principals."[15]

See also


  1. ^ Discovery news
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Discovery goes digital. (Discovery Communications Inc. to launch four new digital cable television networks)". Multichannel News. September 1996. 
  4. ^ "Discovery Communications at a glance". May 4, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Discovery Buys" by the Wall Street Journal
  6. ^ - "Precious Commodities". - Discovery Channel
  7. ^ Wasko, Janet and Calderon, Carlos. - "Modern Marvels: Celebrating How It Works". - University of Oregon. - May 7, 2008
  8. ^ Discovery Communications, Inc. v., Inc. - Complaint for Patent Infringement in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, March 17, 2009
  9. ^ Discovery hits Amazon with Kindle patent suit, CNet News, March 17, 2009
  10. ^ Schneider, Michael (April 30, 2009). "Hasbro nabs Discovery Kids stake". Variety. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  11. ^ Hasbro and Discovery Communications Announce Joint Venture to Create Television Network Dedicated to High-Quality Children's and Family Entertainment and Educational Content, Discovery Communications, April 30, 2009
  12. ^ [1]FXGuide. Labor Series Part One: Unpaid Artists. July 28, 2008.
  13. ^ [2]Press release: Journey 3D, FX Artists of Former Meteor Studios seeking $1 Million in Back Pay.
  14. ^ [3]NY Post. A Journey in Search of Pay. August 1, 2008.
  15. ^ [4]Playback Magazine. Ex-Meteor Studios workers seek pay. July 21, 2008.

External links


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