Marcj 2017


Discovery Has Launched A Sports Channel - DSPORTS

In a surprise announcement, Discovery Communications announced on 6 Feb 2017, the launch of a sports channel - DSPORTS in India.

This is the first time in over 10 years that a major broadcaster in India has made a new entry into the sports genre. Discovery operates 11 channels in India including Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Discovery HD World, Discovery Science, Discovery Turbo and Discovery Kids.

It is surprising that Discovery in India has jumped into the sports arena. In September 2016, even a big player like Zee exited sports. Zee sold its TEN Sports channels to Sony recently, finding Sports too expensive to sustain. That had left just Star & Sony with a sports duopoly in India.

Between 2013 and 2015, the sports sector recorded a growth of 10% from Rs. 4372.5 crore to Rs. 4806.9 crore.


In Europe, Discovery has made a number of sporting acquisitions, including European television sports network Eurosport and the broadcast rights to Bundesliga, a professional football league in Germany.


With a plan to offer 4,000 hours of live sporting content annually, Discovery will air international sports properties ranging from horse racing to football. On launch day, DSPORTS commenced with over 10 hours of live content.

"The channel will be serving a mix of international sports which have large fan communities in India. We will offer 4,000 hours of live programming which is 2 to 3 times of any other channel," said Karan Bajaj, senior vicepresident and general manager at non-fiction broadcaster Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, a division of Discovery Communications.

RC Venkateish, former MD of ESPN Star and former CEO of Dish TV India, will be working closely with DSPORT, especially in areas related to content acquisition for the channel. The channel is currently in advanced talks for selected high quality cricket events in addition to other sports.


As of now, DSPORT has acquired rights to Brazilian, Chinese and Portuguese football leagues along with Major League Soccer (US) and will offer live racing from the UK and Irish tracks. In golf, the channel will air British Open (The Open Championship), US Open, PGA Championship and LPGA. Additionally, Discovery has also acquired rugby and cycling properties for the channel.


Claiming a reach of 35 million Cable TV and DTH households on its launch day, DSPORTS is a pay channel, offered in Standard Definition at Rs. 12.60 RIO in DAS markets, and Rs. 30 on analog cable TV networks (upto end March 2017).


Reviewing its India operations, Discovery has rejigged its strategy with a focus to regain growth under the leadership of newly appointed senior VP and general manager - South Asia, Karan Bajaj.

Discovery is now committed to aggressive organic and inorganic growth in India, which will be one of its top 3 markets worldwide.

Locally, Discovery's infotainment content faces competition from NGC's History TV18 & soon to be launched Sony BBC Earth. n