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Discovery People fades out

Cabler paid $100 million for channel

NEW YORK — Discovery People, the former CBS Eye on People, which Discovery Communications acquired over a year ago, will go off the air sometime this year, the company confirmed.

Discovery had been slowly phasing out the net by allowing cable operators to convert its carriage to networks with a higher priority, such as Discovery Health and Animal Planet.

Discovery is believed to have paid $100 million for the channel, or about twice what CBS is estimated to have invested in it. Observers have speculated that Discovery would abandon People since the company invested $350 million in its Discovery Health Channel in December 1998.

At that time, John Hendricks, Discovery’s founder, chairman and CEO, said he was committed to keeping the net but that he would work with distributors to make it maximize profitability.

Since Eye on People launched in March 1997, it has faced an uphill battle for distribution. The web had some 12 million subscribers.

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