At RealScreen press time, Discovery Communications announced its purchase of basic cable service The Travel Channel-Latin America from U.S.-based Landmark Communications for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition comes hot on the heels of the October 6 Latin American launch of Animal Planet and People+Arts, DCI’s joint venture services with BBC; and only a month after DCI struck a deal with Paxson Communications for a controlling interest in the U.S. cable service The Travel Channel.
‘Based on the research we’ve done and the audience response, travel is very compatible with the family of Discovery services already available in Latin America,’ says Don Wear, president of Discovery Networks, International.
Speaking of long-range plans in what Wear describes as ‘a congested market’, DCI is aiming to offer Latin American cable operators a bundle of the ‘strongest possible group of channels in the non-fiction genre.’
In response to rumours that DCI would fold the travel service and roll the catalogue onto existing Discovery services, Dawn McCall, senior vp and gm for Discovery Networks, Latin America, says it’s not in the cards.
Wear added that DCI’s services in Latin America are expected to break even ahead of schedule, meaning they will probably be the next of the company’s international channels to go into the black.
Also in Upfront:
-News Briefs for November 1997
-Disney goes back to nature
-Paramount boosts its reality slate with Wild Things
-New Canadian Cable Apps
-TVNZ’s Natural History Unit goes on the block. And the winner is. . .