Discovery to launch TLC in Lat Am from November

The global roll-out of TLC will continue with the Latin American Discovery Travel & Living channel rebranding as TLC from November 1, Discovery Networks Latin America/U.S. Hispanic's president and MD Enrique R Martínez (pictured) tells realscreen, adding that new platform deals will put the lifestyle net in some 26 million homes.
October 19, 2011

Discovery Communications is continuing the ambitious international roll-out of its TLC brand, with Latin America set to be the next major territory to receive the lifestyle channel.

From November 1, the Discovery Travel & Living channel will rebrand as Travel & Living Channel (TLC), adopting the U.S. TLC logo and offering a host of American lifestyle and cookery shows, including NY Ink, Cake Boss, MasterChef and Cupcake Wars.

Talking to realscreen about the move, Discovery Networks Latin America/U.S. Hispanic’s president and MD Enrique R Martínez (pictured above) said that the rebrand would allow the company to keep the successful “Travel & Living” name and build upon the progress made with the net’s portfolio of travel programming, while also adopting the American TLC brand and importing its successful U.S.-made titles.

“One of the things that you’d maybe see less on a travel channel that we’ll be bringing in is shows about and based around personalities,” Martínez explained. “In addition, Travel & Living had a little bit of culinary, and we’ll expand on that with shows such as Cake Boss and Hell’s Kitchen.”

To date, TLC has only been present in Latin America via TLC HD, a niche pay-TV channel with a limited audience of “about two million to 2.5 million subscribers,” according to Martínez. By contrast, the new TLC channel will reach 26 million households from the start of next month, thanks in part to a host of new platform deals.

In Mexico, the network has added 1.5 million new subscribers via a buying cooperative called PCTV; and in Brazil, a deal with Net Brasil will increase distribution by about 800,000 subscribers.

The Latin American launch of TLC continues parent company Discovery Communications’ 2010 initiative to roll out the channel in some 75 markets worldwide – a plan that has already resulted in launches in Bulgaria, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia and Sweden, among others.

Part of the reason the Latin American launch has taken longer is that Discovery already has a female-skewing lifestyle network in its portfolio for the region – Discovery Home & Health – which targets women aged 18-47. The new TLC, by contrast, will aim for a 25-54 demo.

“There are other competitors in the marketplace relative to lifestyle, but we believe with the strength of our brands we have the ability to splinter the content in two directions and target different demographics with the two channels,” said Martínez.

One direction the Latin American TLC feed will not be rushing towards is the development of local versions of U.S. TLC formats, such as Cake Boss or the Ink franchise. “The priority isn’t around making something on a local level,” Martínez said. “We want to take a global view with our programming.

“Then again, when you start talking about personalities on TV, they can be very local, so for us it will be about finding the right balance between what we’re getting from the U.S. and what we can get and work with from the other international TLCs.”

In addition to the aforementioned cookery and lifestyle shows, other titles currently slated for the Latin American TLC include Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Exotic Foods, Brew Masters and Earthtripping.

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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.