Hewlitt to Carlton
At RealScreen press time, Channel 4′s head of factual and features, Steve Hewlitt, was appointed director of programmes at Carlton Television, one of the U.K.’s leading commercial private broadcasters. Hewlitt has been at Channel 4 for only one year, following a career at the BBC, and was a key figure in assisting new C4 chief exec Michael Jackson. The appointment follows serious criticism of Carlton for making and broadcasting The Connection, an award-winning documentary which, it was later revealed, contained faked footage.
Animal Planet goes East
Animal Planet made its debut in Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and Papua, New Guinea at the end of June, launching to 400,000 subscribers with the goal of reaching a million by the end of the year. A 50/50 joint venture between Discovery and BBC Worldwide, Discovery assumes all responsibility for the program scheduling and marketing. For now, programming will be in English, and will be comprised mostly of existing Discovery and BBC material.
The launch is the first step in targeting the South-East Asian market. Further expansion in the region will see dci move into India, most likely in 1999.
With NGT/NBC’s summer launch into the Asian market, and Animal Planet’s eminent launch into the U.K. market via BSkyB, the two natural history majors will soon be squaring off in two of the largest markets in the world. Brendan Christie
RealScreen to Sponsor Documentary Pavilion at NATPE
RealScreen has signed with the NATPE organization to be the exclusive sponsor of the Documentary Pavilion at the 1999 NATPE Conference and Exhibition to be held January 25-28 in New Orleans. It’s hoped the agreement will help foster an increase in the number of documentary-specific companies exhibiting at the event. RealScreen will manage a central info booth for exhibitors and a messaging service. In addition, RealScreen will produce a seminar for the conference portion of natpe on Thursday, January 28 entitled `Just the Facts: The Business of Documentaries.’
Discovery services a go on BSkyB digital in UK
As the hype around digital tv heats up in the U.K., Discovery Networks Europe has unveiled details for a raft of channels to be broadcast on BSkyB’s soon-to-be-launched digital platform.
Under the deal, Sky is carrying seven Discovery-owned channels – five of which are billed as new services.
The existing services are the Discovery Channel and Discovery Home and Leisure. The new services are: Animal Planet, which also launches on analog, and a time-shifted version of Discovery and Discovery Showcase – a bouquet of three special interest channels to be detailed in depth later this summer. Andy Fry