Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Discovery World finally a gonner on DStv? As expected since November 2015, the Discovery World channel is very likely going to end soon.

The Discovery World (DStv 187) channel on DStv is basically a dead man walking with the channel that will likely be cut and terminated on MultiChoice's satellite pay-TV platform sometime in April.

The deafening silence is growing that the Discovery World channel from Discovery Networks International (DNI) will be gone from DStv sooner rather than later - possibly morphing or relaunching as another Discovery channel, or simply reducing Discovery's number of channels available in South Africa.

Discovery World was conspicuously absent at the Discovery Networks CEEMEA Upfront 2016 that took place in November 2015 and where Discovery shows and talks about what it will be doing and showing across all of its channels for the next year.

It was instantly noticeable that Discovery World didn't feature on any branding material, banners or posters, Discovery World wasn't mentioned even once, and the channel logo was banished from any and all step-and-repeat banners.

I immediately asked Discovery Networks International about Discovery World's absence and specifically also asked if the Discovery World channel is begin terminated in 2016.

Discovery Networks CEEMEA was evasive not giving a clear answer and I was told it "wanted to concentrate the  isn't giving a definite answer and says it "wanted to concentrate the story on less channels this year to increase the impact on the audience, and we were very pleased with the results".

Since March, Discovery Networks CEEMEA isn't even mentioning Discovery World anymore, only talking about its "5 local channels" Discovery Channel (DStv 121), TLC Entertainment (DStv 172), Animal Planet (DStv 183), Discovery Science (StarSat 320) and ID Xtra (DStv 171 / StarSat 223).

Now there is no more monthly highlights or schedule for Discovery World like for the other channels and none is being shared with the press.

The channel, a more high-brow and cerebral version of the Discovery Channel just turned 6 years old since it started on DStv in February 2010. Like BBC Worldwide's BBC Earth channel it targeted and catered to a more upmarket audience interested in a more serious side of natural history programming, with a slightly toned down "entertainment" element.

I again asked Discovery Networks International through its South African publicity agency to please help with Discovery World information as a channel and if the channel is being discontinued. So far no answer.

When I get an answer back from DNI, if there is a specific answer as to whether Discovery World is being terminated, I will report it.

UPDATE Wednesday 23 March 12:34 - I just heard back from Discovery Networks International's reps:

"We have issued all the highlights for our May schedules that are currently available and will follow up with news about Discovery World shortly."

What is business practice though, is that when you wind down a brand and prepare to remove it from a market, one of the tell-tale signs are that you stop spending marketing and publicity effort, budget and capital in the form of attention, time and energy on it.

TVwithThinus asked MultiChoice about Discovery World's future as well, including specifically, if Discovery World is being removed and ending on DStv. Again, no direct answer.

It signals that MultiChoice isn't willing, or in a position at the moment, to clear up the growing doubt about Discovery World's ongoing future as a TV channel.

Asked if Discovery World is being removed and ending on DStv and how MultiChoice feels about the performance of the channel the past few years on DStv and if MultiChoice has been happy with the channel, MultiChoice responds:

"Performance of channels on DStv is subject to confidentiality and can therefore not be disclosed. Should we make any changes to channels on DStv, we will make the necessary announcements."

With (1) nothing that Discovery Networks International wants to highlight anymore on Discovery World after March and not being able to supply a schedule or highlights even when asked, coupled with its (2) total absence from the Discovery Upfront for 2016, and with (3) MultiChoice's avoidance of wanting to give a clear answer about the channel's ongoing future, it's becoming even more obvious what's going to very likely be happening soon with Discovery World as a channel.