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Special Report on Travel & Adventure: Discovery Hits the Road

The ink had barely dried on the contract for Paxson's us$75 million purchase of Atlanta-based The Travel Channel, before controlling interest of the cable outlet flipped again - this time to Discovery Channel International for $21 million. Discovery has big plans...
November 1, 1997

The ink had barely dried on the contract for Paxson’s us$75 million purchase of Atlanta-based The Travel Channel, before controlling interest of the cable outlet flipped again – this time to Discovery Channel International for $21 million. Discovery has big plans for the troubled outlet. As John Hendricks, founder and ceo of dci said at mipcom: ‘Travel is destined for universal distribution.’

Clark Bunting, Discovery senior vice-president, has been given the task of making the new channel work. Explaining the attractiveness of the company’s newest property, he says ‘It was the promise of the brand, not necessarily what the brand is today. What the brand can be is very substantial. It’s an extension of what we do already with Discovery, tlc and Animal Planet. We’re confident in our ability to grow the asset here.’

Travel seems to be the natural progression for a broadcasting giant which invites you to ‘Explore Your World’. They see a wide appeal for their newest outlet. ‘Our goal is to attract the broadest audience, which is the armchair traveller, as well as the core travelers who are out there every week banging away at airports.’ Bunting says the new-look Travel Channel will be more inclusive, and not be targeted to just the ‘travel warrior.’

He explains that The Travel Channel will undergo an image makeover in order to make that appeal possible. ‘There will be a contemporary look to the programming here. I don’t think you’ll see nearly as many of the Super 16 long-tracking shots that are great for natural history documentaries. I think you will see much more use of digital cameras. The goal here is to make this much more of a relevant and contemporary service, that says journey and travel isn’t necessarily just the physical act. The goal is to open the promise of what this network can be, to include the family, exposing them to more people and places and cultures. A journey can be in your mind too.’

Also in this report:

-New Directions

-Getting There Isn’t Enough

-Dan Rather Can Fly

-Next Stop: Hollywood

About The Author
Meagan Kashty is an associate editor of realscreen, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Meagan is an award-winning business journalist. Prior to joining the realscreen team, Meagan was online editor of Canadian Grocer, named Magazine of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Business Media Awards. She can be reached at mkashty@brunico.com, and you can follow her on Twitter @MegKashty

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