Discovery Communications

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Discovery Communications, Inc.
NASDAQ-100 Component
S&P 500 Component
IndustryMass media
Predecessor(s)Discovery Holding Company
Founded1972 as Appalachian Community Service Network
1980 as The Learning Channel
1985 as The Discovery Channel
1994 as Discovery Communications
Founder(s)John S. Hendricks
HeadquartersSilver Spring, Maryland, U.S.
Area servedWorldwide
Key peopleJohn S. Hendricks
(Executive Chairman)
David M. Zaslav
(President and CEO)
ProductsBroadcasting, cable television, radio and Internet
RevenueIncrease US$ 4.235 billion (2011)
Operating incomeIncrease US$ 1.799 billion (2011)
Net incomeIncrease US$ 1.132 billion (2011)
Total assetsIncrease US$ 11.91 billion (2011)
Total equityIncrease US$ 6.517 billion (2011)
Employees4,600 (2011)
DivisionsList of Divisions
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Discovery Communications, Inc.
NASDAQ-100 Component
S&P 500 Component
IndustryMass media
Predecessor(s)Discovery Holding Company
Founded1972 as Appalachian Community Service Network
1980 as The Learning Channel
1985 as The Discovery Channel
1994 as Discovery Communications
Founder(s)John S. Hendricks
HeadquartersSilver Spring, Maryland, U.S.
Area servedWorldwide
Key peopleJohn S. Hendricks
(Executive Chairman)
David M. Zaslav
(President and CEO)
ProductsBroadcasting, cable television, radio and Internet
RevenueIncrease US$ 4.235 billion (2011)
Operating incomeIncrease US$ 1.799 billion (2011)
Net incomeIncrease US$ 1.132 billion (2011)
Total assetsIncrease US$ 11.91 billion (2011)
Total equityIncrease US$ 6.517 billion (2011)
Employees4,600 (2011)
DivisionsList of Divisions

Discovery Communications, Inc. is an American global mass media and entertainment company based in Silver Spring, Maryland. The company started as a single channel in 1985, The Discovery Channel. Today, DCI has global operations offering 28 network entertainment brands on more than 100 channels in more than 180 countries in 39 languages for over 1.5 billion subscribers around the globe.[1]

DCI both produces original television programming and acquires content from producers worldwide. This non-fiction and fiction programming is offered through DCI's 28 network entertainment brands, including Discovery Channel, American Heroes Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Discovery Fit & Health and a family of digital channels. DCI also distributes Random House and Random House Home Video to cable and satellite operators in the United States.

Despite being publicly traded on the NASDAQ stock exchange, the Newhouse family exercise the largest stake in the company, 31%, through privately held Advance Publications.[2]

Corporate governance[edit]


On January 28, 2005, Discovery Communications promoted Larry Laque to senior vice president, global infrastructure and operations.[3] Judith McHale was President and Chief Executive Officer until NBCUniversal executive David Zaslav took over the position on November 16, 2006.[4]

In addition to Zaslav, current executives include:[5]


Prior to September 18, 2008, DCI's ownership consisted of three shareholders:

On December 13, 2007, Discovery Holding Company announced a restructuring plan. Under the plan, the Discovery Holding's Ascent Media business would be spun off, and the remaining businesses, Discovery Communications, LLC and Advance/Newhouse Communications, would be combined into a new holding company.[6] The reorganization was completed on September 17, 2008. The new Discovery Communications, Inc. is now a fully public company and trades on the NASDAQ stock market under the symbols NASDAQDISCA, NASDAQDISCB, and NASDAQDISCK. SEC filings are submitted by the Discovery Holding Company.[7]


Discovery Communications headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, with the 2000-2008 logo on the building.

DCI operates its businesses in four groups: Discovery Networks U.S., Discovery Networks International, Discovery Commerce, and Discovery Education.

Discovery Networks U.S.[edit]

The company started out with just a single channel, Discovery Channel, launched in 1985. In 1991, they acquired their rival The Learning Channel.

In the mid-90s, Discovery Communications started developing several new networks. The first of these to launch was Animal Planet, which was launched in cooperation with the BBC in 1996. In October 1996, four digital networks were launched to take advantage of the then-new digital cable space; Discovery Kids, Discovery Travel & Living Network, Discovery Civilization Network and Discovery Science Network.[8] This was followed by the 1998 launches of Discovery Wings Channel and Discovery Health Channel.

They also bought the Travel Channel in 1997, CBS Eye on People (became Discovery People) in 1998 and The Health Network (became FitTV) in 2001.

Discovery Networks were early to go into high-definition television with the launch of Discovery HD Theater in 2002. With the launch of high-definition simulcasts of Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and Science Channel in 2007, the original HD channel changed its name to HD Theater.

Starting in the middle of the 2000s, Discovery have been reviewing and overhauling most of their "digital" networks.[9] The networks have evolved from being offshoots of the Discovery Channel, into separate entities with their own identities. The "Discovery" moniker has gradually been dropped from channel names. Some networks had kept the globe in their logo to signal their affiliation to Discovery Networks, but this practice has also been gradually discontinued.

Discovery Networks U.S. operates 13 channels.[10] According to SEC filings, the division "also operates web sites related to its channel businesses and various other new media businesses, including a video-on-demand offering distributed by various cable operators."

The division's channels include:

ChannelLaunch DateUS Households as of 2013[11]HD SimulcastNotes
Discovery Channel1985100 millionYesFlagship network
TLC1980 (Acquired in 1991)99 millionYesAcquired by Discovery Communications in May 1991, previously known as The Learning Channel.
Animal Planet199697 millionYesLaunched mainly using satellite space acquired from the discontinuation of the WOR EMI Service
Oprah Winfrey Network201184 millionYesJoint venture ownership with Harpo Productions
Investigation Discovery199681 millionYesFormerly Discovery Times, Discovery Civilization
Science199977 millionYesFormerly Discovery Science
Hub Network201072 millionYesFormerly Discovery Kids and The Hub
Joint venture with Hasbro
American Heroes Channel199962 millionYesFormerly Discovery Wings, Military Channel
Destination America199860 millionYesFormerly Discovery Home and Leisure (1998-2004), Discovery Home (2004-2008), and Planet Green (2008-2012)
Discovery Fit & Health201149 millionNoMerger of Discovery Health Channel and FitTV
Velocity200248 millionHD onlyBroadcasts in HD 24 hours a day. Formerly Discovery HD Theater and HD Theater
3net201140 million3D onlyBroadcasts in 3D 24 hours a day. Joint venture with Sony and IMAX.
Discovery en Español19985 millionNoSpanish-language version of the Discovery Channel
Discovery Familia20074 million[12]No
Discovery Digital Networks2005 (Acquired in 2012)N/AN/AInternet Television Network

Discovery Networks International[edit]

Discovery Networks International, or Discovery international networks, offers "a portfolio of channels, led by Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, that are distributed in virtually every pay-television market in the world." The division offers over 100 separate feeds in 39 languages with "channel feeds customized according to language needs and advertising sales opportunities."[13]

DCI owns most channels offered by Discovery Networks International, with the exception of:

"As with the U.S. networks division, the international networks operate web sites and other new media businesses."

On January 10, 2006, the Discovery Networks International announced a joint-venture with Spiegel TV and DCTF to provide global free-to-air television to more than 20 million households in Germany and neighboring countries.[14]

Discovery International Channels include:[15]

The division's channels include:

ChannelLaunch DateInternational Networks Households[12]Notes
Discovery Channel1989279 million
Animal Planet1997242 million
Discovery Travel & Living2005180 million
DMAX200644 millionLaunch: 2006 Germany, 2008 UK & Ireland, 2011 Italy
Discovery Science199742 million
Discovery Home & Health200038 million
Discovery Kids199629 million
Investigation Discovery Latin America201022 million
Discovery World200817 million
TLC UK/Ireland199415 million
Discovery Turbo200515 million
Discovery Turbo Xtra2013Launch: 2013 Poland
Discovery HD200514 million
Investigation Discovery Europe13 million
Discovery History199911 million
Discovery Shed200910 million
Quest20099 million
TLC8 million
Discovery Civilization19965 million
Discovery Historia20061 million

Discovery Commerce[edit]

Discovery Commerce operates a catalog and electronic commerce business[18] offering lifestyle, health, science and education-oriented products, as well as products specifically related to programming on Discovery's networks. In addition, the e-commerce site serves as a licensing business that licenses Discovery trademarks and intellectual property to third parties for the purpose of creating and selling retail merchandise. The Discovery shopping website offers products similar to those previously sold in the Discovery Channel retail stores. Recently the Discovery Channel retail stores were closed,[when?] however, the products are still available online.

Discovery Education[edit]

Discovery Education is a division which offers "streaming educational video material into schools via the internet." Discovery Education operates unitedstreaming, a "leading educational broadband streaming service in the United States." In April 2006, Discovery Education acquired a premier assessment company, ThinkLink Learning, which is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Now called Discovery Education Assessment, the program is designed to help students improve on state standardized tests[citation needed].

Discovery Education also sells DVD, VHS, CD-ROM, and Multimedia kits with the same content. Other products include COSMEO, an online homework subscription help site, Discovery Health Connection, Discovery Science Connection and they recently purchased other video streaming companies. They have two free services. One is their website, Discovery School and the other is a teacher community, the Discovery Educator Network, commonly referred to as the DEN[citation needed].

Other interests[edit]

Discovery Communications currently operates (acquired in November 2006), (acquired in August 2007),[19] and (acquired on October 15, 2007 for US$250 million[20]), under their "Discovery Digital Media" business unit. The company later chose to use the name HowStuffWorks as the title of a television series on Discovery Channel. The series, which focuses on commodities,[21] premiered in November 2008 and is similar in style and content to other "how it works" programs like Modern Marvels.[22]

Discovery launched Discovery Channel Online, the network's website, on July 4, 1995. [23]

In addition to their in-house production unit, Discovery Studios, Discovery also maintains an interest in several Hollywood audio studios through their CSS Studios subsidiary. These include Todd-AO, Soundelux, Sound One, POP Sound, Modern Music, Soundelux Design Music Group and The Hollywood Edge.

On March 17, 2009, Discovery revealed that it owned the rights to several patents related to e-books, in announcing a patent infringement lawsuit against, maker of the Kindle e-book reading device. The patents were originally developed by the company's founder John Hendricks; the specific patent in question in the suit was applied for in 1999 but issued in late 2007.[24][25]

On April 30, 2009, it was announced that Discovery would be forming a joint-venture with Hasbro to re-launch Discovery Kids as a new children's channel known as The Hub.[26][27]

On November 2, 2009, Discovery joined Jeff Arnold (founder of WebMD), Dr. Mehmet Oz, Harpo Productions, Sony Pictures Television and HSW International as co-founder of Sharecare, Inc., a Q&A platform for users to ask health- and wellness-related questions and receive answers from recognized experts.[28]

Discovery launched a 3DTV channel in conjunction with Sony and IMAX in early 2011, called 3net.[29]

Discovery has many of their programs streaming on Netflix, such as MythBusters, How It's Made, and River Monsters.

On December 21, 2012, Discovery announced it had took a 20% minority interest share with TF1 Group in sports broadcaster Eurosport, valued at €170 million (US$221.6 million).[30] On January 21, 2014, Discovery became the majority shareholder in Eurosport, taking a 51% share of the company.[31]

2010 hostage crisis[edit]

On September 1, 2010, the DCI headquarters was the site of a hostage taking, a lone gunman identified as James J. Lee, armed with two starter pistols[32] and an explosive device, took three people hostage inside of the Discovery Communications headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, prompting an evacuation of the building.

The incident began at 1:00 p.m. ET, when 43-year-old James Jay Lee entered the building with two starter pistols and fired a single round at the ceiling of the lobby.[33][34] The Montgomery County Police Department confirmed that Lee had an explosive device and was holding three people[35] hostage in the lobby.[33][36] The building was placed on lockdown and most of the 1,500 employees were evacuated.[36] Children from a day care center inside were safely removed to a nearby McDonald's restaurant on Colesville Rd.[33] The police began to communicate with Lee soon after the incident began.[33] The Montgomery County police chief, J. Thomas Manger, said that the police were "trying to get him to release the hostages and surrender peacefully".[36] Lee was shot by police at 4:48 p.m. ET after the hostages made a run for freedom.[37] The remaining hostages were immediately freed.[38]

After nearly four hours, Lee was shot dead by police and all the hostages were freed.[39] Lee's motive was believed to have been grounded in environmental activism. James J. Lee had previously been arrested in 2008 while protesting in front of the same site.

The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland has since labeled the crime a terrorist attack.[40]

James Jay Lee (c. 1967 – September 1, 2010) was born to a Korean-American father and a Japanese mother, in Los Angeles, California and raised in Hawaii.[41] He was an environmental protester who, in 2008, was given six months of supervised probation and fined $500 after he was arrested during a protest outside the Discovery Communications headquarters. In 2003, he was convicted of smuggling an illegal immigrant into the country from Mexico and sentenced to 18 months in prison.[32]

Lee had published criticisms of the network in an online manifesto at,[34] among which was a demand for the company to cease the broadcasting of television series displaying or encouraging the birth of "parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions".[42] His manifesto also railed against "immigration pollution and anchor baby filth", leading commentators such as Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center to decry Lee as an "eco-fascist".[43] Lee's opinions were dominated by Malthusian analysis,[44] though he also cited works ranging from Daniel Quinn's novel My Ishmael to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth.[45] The Washington Post credits the Twitter community for initially breaking the story.[46]

SBS Discovery Media[edit]

SBS Discovery Media is a European media group, owned by Discovery Communications. It was formed on April 9, 2013 when Discovery's acquisition of SBS Nordic from German media group ProSiebenSat.1 was finalised. It combines the assets of SBS Nordic with Discovery's activities in the Nordic region.

At the time of the merger, SBS had been a major commercial broadcaster in Scandinavia for two decades. The combined viewing shares made it the second largest commercial television group in Norway and the third largest in Denmark and Sweden.

SBS Discovery Media, also own several radio stations in Denmark, such as The Voice, Nova FM, Radio 100, Pop FM, Radio Klassisk, Radio Soft and myROCK. All stations are broadcasting on FM and via

Corporate identity branding campaign[edit]

On October 1, 2013, the 13 Discovery-owned or co-owned networks in the U.S. began airing 10-second wraparounds after many of their show promos. The network logos are arranged in a circle around the phrase "Your Family of Networks." Through animation, the logos then spin and dissolve, revealing the parent company's logo at the end.

Lost in Poland[edit]

In Poland during switch to digital terrestrial TV, and after analog switch off there was 1 place on MUX 1, which was targeted for Free-to-air popular science and technology program. Discovery Communications and their proposition of DMAX, was treated as favorite, however their lost to new project called "Fokus TV"(literally Focus television). Fokus TV also won over other propositions like TV Nowa, TVS, 4fun Media, Media Works, Edusat and TVR. However - in fact Edusat was only example of this group focused more on science and technology, despite being mainly program which is something like "open University" project. The decision of choosing Fokus TV over Discovery was commented that national body in Poland wanted more "hard science", and "technical" than "docutainment", and program to be more Poland targeted.[47]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Discovery news[dead link]
  2. ^ Flamm, Matthew (13 December 2010). "Advance Publications waving around $500M". Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  3. ^ "Former MCI Exec to Head Discovery Communications' Global Infrastructure and Operations Division". 
  4. ^ Ahrens, Frank (November 17, 2006). "Discovery Appoints New Chief". The Washington Post. 
  5. ^ "Leadership : Discovery Communications". 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  6. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  7. ^ Information statement: Discovery Holding Company. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  8. ^ "Discovery goes digital. (Discovery Communications Inc. to launch four new digital cable television networks)". Multichannel News. September 1996. [dead link]
  9. ^ Ahrens, Frank (November 27, 2007). "Discovery Hopes for Payoff on Crime Channel". The Washington Post. 
  10. ^ "U.S. Networks : Discovery Communications". 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  11. ^ . Subscriber numbers as of March 2013  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ a b "Globe: A Quarterly Newsletter from Discovery Communications". April 2010. 
  13. ^ "Form 10-K: Discovery Holding Company". 2007-02-28. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ "Discovery Networks International : Discovery Communications". 2008-09-10. Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  16. ^ "Discovery Travel & Living Becomes is Now TLC". The Philippine Star. September 4, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Discovery HD rebrands to Discovery HD World". CASBAA. April 1, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Discovery Store: Official Online Store for Discovery". Retrieved 2011-05-22. 
  19. ^ Discovery Communications, Inc. "Our Brands"
  20. ^ "Discovery Buys" by the Wall Street Journal
  21. ^ - "Precious Commodities". - Discovery Channel
  22. ^ Wasko, Janet and Calderon, Carlos. - "Modern Marvels: Celebrating How It Works". - University of Oregon. - May 7, 2008
  23. ^ Media Globalization and the Discovery Channel Networks By Ole J. Mjos,
  24. ^ Discovery Communications, Inc. v., Inc. - Complaint for Patent Infringement in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, March 17, 2009
  25. ^ Discovery hits Amazon with Kindle patent suit, CNet News, March 17, 2009
  26. ^ Schneider, Michael (April 30, 2009). "Hasbro nabs Discovery Kids stake". Variety. Retrieved 2009-05-01. 
  27. ^ Hasbro and Discovery Communications Announce Joint Venture to Create Television Network Dedicated to High-Quality Children's and Family Entertainment and Educational Content, Discovery Communications, April 30, 2009
  28. ^ "Dr. Mehmet Oz and Internet Entrepreneur, Jeff Arnold, Announce Sharecare Inc.,a Web 3.0 Platform, Organizing and Answering the Questions of Health". Bloomberg. November 2, 2009. Retrieved 2011-04-02. 
  29. ^ Cosgrove To Head Discovery 3D Network - Programming Veteran To Report To JV Board, Comprising Sony, IMAX, Discovery Officials Multichannel News June 8, 2010
  30. ^ "TF1 & Discovery Communications finalize agreement and move forward to build three-tier strategic alliance across Eurosport, four payTV channels and production". TF1 Group. 2012-12-21. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  31. ^ "Discovery Communications to acquire TF1 Group's Controlling interest in Top Sports platform Eurosport". Discovery Communications. 2014-01-21. Retrieved 2014-01-22. 
  32. ^ a b "Discovery Channel attacker convicted of smuggling immigrant in 2003". CNN (International). 09-04-2010. Retrieved 4 September 2010. 
  33. ^ a b c d "Armed Man With Bomb Takes at Least One Hostage in Discovery Channel Building". Fox. September 1, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  34. ^ a b "Suspect in Maryland hostage situation published angry online manifesto". CNN. September 1, 2010. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  35. ^ Morse, Dan (September 3, 2010). "James J. Lee's hostage standoff at Discovery was grueling time for officials". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 8, 2010. 
  36. ^ a b c Robbins, Liz; Stelter, Brian (September 1, 2010). "Gunman Takes Hostage in Maryland". The New York Times. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  37. ^ Morse, Dan (September 1, 2010). "Environmental militant slain at Silver Spring building after taking hostages". Washington Post. Retrieved September 1, 2010. 
  38. ^ "Hostages Safe as Police Shoot Maryland Gunman". The New York Times. 1 September 2010. Retrieved 1 September 2010. [dead link]
  39. ^ Morse, Dan; Vargas, Theresa; Ruane, Michael E. (September 2, 2010). "James J. Lee, environmental militant, slain at Discovery building after taking hostages". The Washington Post. 
  40. ^ "Background Report: Discovery Communications Building Hostage-Taking". Start. p. 1. Retrieved 4 September 2010. 
  41. ^ "한국인 아버지-일본인 어머니…자식들이 어릴 때 이혼했다" [Korean Father - Japanese Mother Divorced When (He) Was a Child] (in Korean). LA Joongang Ilbo. September 2, 2010.  (Google Translation)
  42. ^ Theresa Vargas (September 1, 2010; 3:54 PM). "James J. Lee is suspect in Discovery hostage case, officials say". Washington Post. 
  43. ^ Mark Potok (September 1, 2010). "Apparent Eco-Terrorist Holding Hostages at TV Building". Hatewatch (blog), Southern Poverty Law Center. 
  44. ^ Leonard, Andrew (SEP 1, 2010). "How Malthus drove the Discovery Channel gunman crazy". Salon (Salon Media Group). p. 1. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  45. ^ "Police kill Discovery building gunman". MSNBC. 9/1/2010. Retrieved 3 September 2010. 
  46. ^ Paul Farhi (September 1, 2010). "Twitter breaks story on Discovery Channel gunman". Washington Post. 
  47. ^

External links[edit]