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Discovery to Launch HD Theater

We normally only post local HDTV news concerning our great state of Oklahoma but this is just too big to ignore. I hope this is the 3rd channel DirecTV is supposed to launch soon. Here is the press release (click on Read More…):

Discovery Communications Inc. said Monday that it would launch a 24-hour high-definition-television network, Discovery HD Theater, June 17.

The programmer said the channel’s launch supports the Federal Communications Commission’s goal of spurring the growth of the HDTV market.

The channel will be advertising-supported and offer clients the chance to run ads in HDTV.

‘Advertisers who are vested with us in accelerating the high-definition trend are interested in partnering with us,’ vice president of new media Clint Stinchcomb said.

The company has an HDTV library of 115 titles.

Discovery also said Monday that it is launching a subscription-video-on-demand service, called Discovery on Demand, offering up to 500 titles from its 70,000-hour library at any given time.

The company will also offer an advertising-based free VOD service called Choice 10 Discovery, which will provide a more limited number of titles.

I found it here.

I also found this one here.

BETHESDA, Md.–(ENTERTAINMENT WIRE)–April 16, 2002– Discovery Also to Launch Two New Video-On-Demand Services,

Choice 10 Discovery(TM) and Discovery On Demand(TM), to

Support File-Served Digital Subscribers

Discovery Communications, Inc., one of the world’s leading innovators in the development of quality content for television, is taking the major step on June 17, 2002, of launching a 24-hour, high-definition television network.

The move is intended to support the goals of FCC Chairman Michael Powell’s recent statement urging content providers to transmit the high-definition programming needed to drive the rollout of digital television.

Discovery HD Theater(TM)

On June 17, 2002, Discovery will launch Discovery HD Theater(TM), a new 24-hour network which will transmit high-definition content in all the popular categories of entertainment offered by Discovery including nature, history, world cultures, geographic explorations, science, education, travel, and a wealth of children’s and how-to programming.

Discovery has over 115 high-definition titles ready for transmission and new productions have been commissioned to support the new service.

Discovery HD Theater(TM) will commence transmission at 9:00 AM (EST) on Monday, June 17, 2002, which coincides with the 17th anniversary of the Discovery Channel’s first transmission on June 17, 1985.

Discovery HD Theater(TM) will be delivered via satellite to cable systems, satellite providers and other multi-channel distribution systems via Satcom 4, Transponder 14. The HDTV digital signal will be delivered in 1080i high-definition resolution and will utilize 3 MHz of spectrum.

“Because independent consumer surveys continue to document that the Discovery Channel is America’s most-valued network, and that our other television brands are among the most valued, we believe we have a special responsibility to help pioneer the rollout of digital and high-definition television,” stated John S. Hendricks, the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Discovery Communications, Inc. “Today, we transmit five special-interest digital channels which have received widespread carriage on digital cable systems as well as on DBS systems. On June 17, we will light up HD television sets with stunning high-definition images that will truly enable our viewers to explore their world via television in ways they never before imagined.”

“By furnishing high-quality HDTV content during 100% of primetime, Discovery HD Theater(TM) will more than qualify as one of the five HDTV or value-added DTV services urged for carriage by the FCC voluntary action proposal,” stated Judith A. McHale, President and Chief Operating Officer of Discovery Communications, Inc. “We are pleased to provide distributors with the high-quality, family-friendly HDTV content they need to serve subscribers who purchase HDTV sets. In addition to movies, broadcast network sitcoms and other broadcast fare, we are convinced that high-definition viewers will welcome a service that can visually transport their families to the far reaches of the globe and help them explore, in stunning detail, the mysteries of history, science, medicine, nature, and human adventure,” said Ms. McHale.

Discovery HD Theater(TM) will present programming covering the full-range of the company’s real-world entertainment categories with limited commercial interruptions. Shows which are less than 30 minutes in length will have no commercial break but they will be preceded and followed by commercial messages from the channel’s presenting sponsors.

Shows longer than 30 minutes will contain intermissions. Discovery will offer its advertisers the unique opportunity to provide commercial messages with compelling high-definition clarity.

The marketing tag line for Discovery HD Theater(TM) and its promise to consumers is: “Your window on the world.” Discovery will provide demonstrations of Discovery HD Theater(TM) at the upcoming national convention of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) in New Orleans, May 5-8, 2002.

Discovery will be launching a marketing campaign called “Next Generation Discovery” for its new digital services.

Discovery on Demand(TM) and Choice 10 Discovery(TM)

Discovery is also introducing a new subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service, Discovery on Demand(TM), which is designed to support the rollout of file-served digital television. The new Discovery SVOD service will offer, at any given time, up to 500 of the very best titles from Discovery’s award-winning programming library which now exceeds over 70,000 hours.

Discovery on Demand(TM) subscribers will select Discovery shows from a menu featuring current Discovery hit shows and series plus offerings representing all of Discovery’s categories of content. Users will enjoy full VCR functionality as they watch their selections.

To increase the programming value for all file-served digital subscribers, Discovery has created an entry-level, free VOD content service that will provide a menu of on demand Discovery content organized in ten (10) categories. The new service will offer 10-25 hours of popular Discovery shows with full VCR functionality.

The service is branded as Choice 10 Discovery(TM) and has been designed to be packaged free with the upgraded digital converter boxes. Choice 10 Discovery(TM) will include advertising and menu sponsorships along with a new file-served, on demand advertising menu branded Discovery Sponsor Cinema(TM).

“We consider advertising sponsorship a critical element of the file-served platform of the future. We are excited to work with our advertising partners to ensure that these new Discovery offerings provide additional opportunities, value, interactivity and reach,” said Mr. Hendricks (See attached release concerning Discovery Sponsor Cinema(TM) for more information).

The objectives of Choice 10 Discovery(TM) are to (1) add value to the “basic” digital tier thereby reducing churn while driving penetration; (2) bring advertisers into the new medium thereby sustaining the important advertising revenue subsidy that supports content development; (3) encourage free and convenient trial usage of VOD by subscribers thereby educating consumers on navigation in the menu-driven, file-served television world; and (4) promote the purchase of premium SVOD and HDTV services so that the content and infrastructure investments required for the digital transition can be sustained through increased viewer spending for valuable content services they desire.

Commenting on Discovery’s decision to provide content free of cost to distributors who offer Choice 10 Discovery(TM) to their digital customers, Mr. Hendricks stated: “In my opinion, our number one priority as programmers is to support the rollout of an easy-to-understand, low-cost, video-on-demand service that is packaged with the digital converter box at no additional cost to the consumer. By providing this value-added digital content, programmers will assist cable operators who are attempting to provide a very affordable, basic digital service that should help drive digital penetration to near universal reach within upgraded systems. For programmers this means that all of our special-interest channels and their associated advertising revenue streams (like Discovery Civilization Channel), which are largely dependent on digital distribution, should dramatically benefit from our support of the free-on-demand (FOD) platform. Once subscribers are equipped with digital converters, a free marketplace competition should emerge wherein digital consumers can choose to subscribe to additional premium digital services depending on their own particular interests and their own assessment of content value. In such a free marketplace based solely on consumer-perceived values, Discovery has always thrived. We encourage all content providers to support the FOD digital platform. By bringing along our sponsors’ commercials into this new media environment, we should substantially mitigate the risk of advertising revenue erosion.”

Discovery Communications, Inc. is the leading global real-world media and entertainment company. DCI has grown from its core property, the Discovery Channel, first launched in the United States in 1985, to current global operations in more than 155 countries and territories with over 700 million cumulative subscribers.

DCI’s 33 networks of distinctive programming represent 14 entertainment brands including TLC, Animal Planet, Travel Channel, Discovery Health Channel, Discovery Kids and a family of newer, targeted channels.

DCI’s other properties consist of Discovery.com and 167 Discovery Channel retail stores. DCI also distributes BBC America in the United States. DCI’s ownership consists of four shareholders: Liberty Media Corporation (NYSE: L – news), Cox Communications, Inc. (NYSE: COX – news), Advance/Newhouse Communications and John S. Hendricks, the Company’s Founder, Chairman and CEO.

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