Thursday, March 24, 2016

TOLDJA! Discovery Networks' Discovery World channel on DStv abruptly yanked off, replaced by DStv Family on another channel number.

A day after TVwithThinus reported that Discovery Networks' Discovery World (DStv 187) channel looks like a gonner on DStv, the channel is indeed abruptly going to go dark and being taken away within days at the end of March, replaced with Discovery Family on another DStv channel number.

Neither MultiChoice nor Discovery Networks International (DNI) bothered to give DStv subscribers and Discovery World viewers any reasons or explanation in a statement as to why the Discovery World channel is being removed, 6 years after it was added in February 2010.

Asked why Discovery World is being removed, DNI tells TVwithThinus that "at Discovery Networks we are constantly looking at market trends and viewer preferences, with the goal of best catering to the needs of our audiences. In Africa we have identified a high demand for family edutainment programming and are therefore adding Discovery Family to our DStv portfolio".

Instead of however growing the Discovery channel offering on MultiChoice, the Discovery World channel is being replaced by Discovery Family on a new channel number of 136 from 31 March.

Discovery's TLC Entertainment is also being moved from channel 172 to channel 135 on DStv to sit alongside the DStv Family channel.

DStv Family is a meshing of content already largely available on the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, making it strange that Discovery didn't rather add the premium HD channel Velocity aimed at male viewers, or Discovery Life - channels that's more different from the already existing content offering from Discovery.

The sudden channel swop leaves Discovery with still 6 channels in South Africa: Discovery Channel (DStv 121), TLC Entertainment, Animal Planet (DStv 183) Discovery Science (StarSat 320), ID Xtra (DStv 171 / StarSat 223) and now Discovery Family replacing Discovery World.

Earlier this year MultiChoice told the media that the satellite pay-TV platform will still add new TV channels, but not at the same roll-out pace as before, and has moved to now rather focus on working with channel and content providers to strengthen their existing content and channel offerings already available on the DStv service like Discovery, BBC Worldwide, M-Net and others.

Discovery World as a channel was noticeably missing from Discovery Networks CEEMEA's upfront for 2016 in November last year.

When TVwithThinus specifically then asked whether Discovery World is being cancelled and removed from DStv in 2015, Discovery refused to give a straight answer and said "we wanted to concentrate the story on less channels this year to increase the impact on the audience".

It's now clear that Discovery World's termination on DStv was indeed already then in the works.

Earlier this week Discovery Networks CEEMEA was asked again directly whether Discovery World is being removed, and again Discovery Networks International wasn't willing to be truthful in its response.

MultiChoice, asked on Tuesday whether Discovery World is being dumped on DStv, said it will make the necessary announcements if any changes are made to channels.

Asked on Thursday why Discovery World is being taken away from DStv subscribers, MultiChoice didn't immediately respond to a media enquiry.

In a statement however announcing the Discovery World with Discovery Family channel replacement, Aletta Alberts, MultiChoice South Africa's head of content says "Discovery Family and TLC will provide the perfect complement that'll strengthen our DStv entertainment selection".

"Discovery Family is designed for family viewing, bringing great programming that entertains and educates."

Discovery Family will be available to DStv Premium, DStv Extra, DStv Compact and DStv Family subscribers in South Africa - the same as the discontinued Discovery World.