Discovery Networks Asia is boosting its presence in Singapore and Hong Kong through two initiatives rolling out this fall.
First, Discovery Asia, which is based in Singapore, is seeking applications for a documentary director’s ‘chair’, a program managed and funded in conjunction with the Media Development Authority of Singapore (MDAS), to help Asian doc-makers gain further experience in their craft. Says Kevin Dickie, the senior director of marketing and communications for Discovery Asia, ‘The purpose of this initiative is to cull the best regional talent here in Singapore and foster an exchange of expertise and ideas.’
The position is open to established producers throughout the region who are willing to work in Singapore for one year, he notes. In terms of programming, no overriding creative guidelines have been set. Says Dickie, ‘We deliberately left it open… What we are looking for are fresh, new, original ideas that can be developed for one of our networks here in Asia.’ Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Travel and Adventure hit more than 176 million viewers in 22 Asian countries.
Discovery Asia and the MDAS have committed to broadcasting and producing three hours of ‘exportable, made-in-Singapore documentaries,’ Dickie notes. The cablecaster says it has carried about 60 hours of Asian produced docs in the last two years, and is now aiming for 40 hours per year. Singapore-made docs will account for approximately 16% of those new hours.
Discovery Asia is also launching a group of specialty channels in Hong Kong in partnership with local communications company PCCW. Offered as part of the October rollout of PCCW’s new broadband tv service called NOW, the ‘Discovery Showcase’ package includes Discovery Travel and Adventure, Discovery Science, Discovery Health and Living, and Animal Planet.
Dickie says PCCW ‘is hoping to sign up 20,000 customers each month.’ He was unable to discuss financial terms of the deal, but did say it’s based on a revenue-sharing model.