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Discovery net gets the travel bug

Third channel in Asia goes live June 4

SINGAPORE — Discovery Networks Asia (DNA) is adding a third channel despite uncertainty about advertising revenues and cable and satellite capacity crunch in some markets.

Discovery Travel & Adventure goes live June 4 alongside Discovery Channel and Animal Planet.

It comes just after the demise of Hong Kong startup travel channel Alive! Networks, but execs are not disheartened.

Going far

“The travel market in Asia is valued at over $500 billion,” says Lesley Anne Campbell senior VP of marketing and communications, Discovery Networks Asia. “The travel industry in Asia offers an untapped potential, and the desire to travel has created a demand for more information. Discovery Travel & Adventure Channel fulfills this desire.”

At the moment, carriage is limited to New Zealand’s Saturn service, but the channel claims most affiliates want to see the signal up before distributing it. Director of affiliate sales Chris Wanden is confident Discovery Travel & Adventure Channel will be in all of Asia’s major markets by year end.

The channel, targeting 18- to 44-year-olds, considers itself different from the U.S.’ Travel Channel, which had to adopt a populist approach to appeal to auds.

“In the U.S., the channel realized audiences wanted the entertainment factor over the educational,” says a spokesperson. “Research in Asia shows audiences want more in-depth travel information, so that’s what we’re doing with primetime features like ‘Destination Week.’ ”

With 200 hours of programming, and aiming for 500 hours by end 2002, the channel is 50% new content acquired for Asia. The other 50% is from the Discovery Networks Inc. inventory.

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