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Programming with global ambition

There are very few broadcasters with larger global coverage than Discovery Networks. It is present in some 220 nations and territories, and each of those major markets has about 10 channels to choose from. It supplies the number one kids channel in Latin America, for example, and its reach is a massive 3 billion subscribers around the globe.

This is the core background for JB Perrette, president, Discovery Networks International, and today’s Keynote (Forum, 10:00-11:00). But Perrette has not been standing idly by this past year. He has supervised further dramatic expansion moves by Discovery, notably into Free-To-Air broadcasting in many markets.

Then, on 29 June, came the bombshell: EuroSport, a Discovery-controlled sports broadcaster, had secured the TV rights for most of Europe for the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, across all platforms and delivery methods from 2018 to 2024.

The UK and France are exempt because of the rights they already hold for 2018 and 2020, and Russia is also exempt from the deal. But 2022 and 2024 will see the BBC having to sub-license the Games. Perrette says that his plan is to use the Olympics to do what Discovery does best, which is to tell stories. “How the barefoot athlete trained in Kenya, or Ethiopia, and what we think we can do uniquely is how to inspire, in our kids channel, and to emote with the person who trained in bare feet, or couldn’t afford shoes, or who trained in really challenging circumstances. That storyline is why we watch, and why we become so very involved in the drama of the moment and why we can become as emotional as the competitor when we watch.”

Discovery is significantly more than ‘Shark Week’. It owns All3Media, and thus produces Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares, and Midsomer Murders. It backs Oprah Winfrey’s OWN channel, and Animal Planet.

Perrette will be interviewed by journalist Kate Bulkley. The session is free and seat demand will be heavy.