Discovery Networks U.S. has decided to allow producers who wish to run a traditional, 30-second credit roll at the end of a program the option to do so. However, producers who opt out of the traditional credit roll can include front-end credits, one ‘special thanks’ card, and a five-second card at the end of the program that features their company logo. Full credits for their programs will migrate to the discovery.com website for no less than six months.
Last month, news that Discovery was interested in replacing the 30-second credit roll with a five-second card raised objections from various sectors of the production community. The offer to have credits live on the discovery.com website appeased few. This latest announcement seeks to placate producer concerns, while keeping the door open for the migration of credits. The move was proposed after research initiated by Discovery concluded that the channel lost viewers during end-credits.
‘If we are able, through this method, to increase our ratings a fraction of a rating point, that frees up money for production,’ says John Ford, president of the Content Group, Discovery Networks, U.S. ‘At the same time, we understand that some producers won’t find anything other than the traditional end credit roll practical to implement.’
The new option still allots 30 seconds of air-time to credits, but not consecutively. Front-end credits will last 20 seconds after the start of a program, during which five non-Discovery related credits will run in the lower left hand corner of the screen at standard size. A silent, five-second ‘special thanks’ card that precedes the last segment of a program is also available for producers to acknowledge sponsors, financiers and others.
At the end of a program, another five-second card will appear, this time bearing the channel name and the prodco logo, followed by the web address where viewers can find additional information about the program. Says Ford, ‘The visual link will be accompanied by audio that says something like, ‘To find out more about the people who made this program, go to discovery.com/credits.’ Then the web link will light up or will be made more visually prominent, so the viewer knows that is where they need to go to get extensive credit information. For a minimum period of six months after the program has first aired, anyone who wants to find out more about the film can go to this link.’ Producers can also opt to hot-link their own website to the Discovery credits site.
Ford says this latest solution has ended discussions concerning credits. ‘The evolution of credit migration stops here,’ he insists. ‘That’s firm and decided.’