Discovery Communications is moving ahead with confidence into new media. A day after acquiring a popular environmental lifestyle site to be a companion site for a their soon to be launched Planet Green channel, the company has also announced they will be making first run full length episodes of some of their programming available online.
Beginning August 3rd , Discovery will premier Meerkat Manor, a program its Animal Planet cable channel, online a week before airing the episodes on television. Episodes of Discovery Channel’s program Dirty Jobs and The Learning Channel’s new tattoo art spin off LA Ink will also air online (both of those programs will debut on television and then be made available online a day later).
Discovery doesn’t fear cannibalizing their TV audience by airing full length programming online. Bruce Campbell, president of Discovery’s Digital and Business Development unit, said in a statement: “with this complementary platform we can grow value for our brands and increase network viewership, while broadening our consumer touch points beyond the TV screen.”
With an audience in 170 countries and 29 brands including the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, The Travel Channel, and The Science Channel, Discovery Communications is the worlds largest “non fiction media company.”
The programming from Discovery Communications will be powered and delivered on Discovery’s websites with streaming video technology from Move Networks. Move Networks, a Utah based company, closed a funding round in February, and gained notoriety in April by signing ABC as the first network to use its streaming video platform.
Discovery Communications will be Move Networks second major deal. The company’s platform, which competes with Adobe’s Flash technology, offers a similar functionality but is able to load video with less buffering (e.g. initial pre-loading of the video stream) and delivers a crisper, higher resolution picture. By most critical reviews, it’s a better viewing experience.