Discovery Jeet has exceeded first quarter ad sales target: Karan Bajaj

MUMBAI: Discovery Communications India has said that the ad inventory of its soon to launch Hindi GEC Discovery Jeet has been sold out for the first quarter. The channel is slated to launch on 12 February.

The channel’s brand led partnership approach has seen multiple brands from major conglomerates including Reckitt Benckiser, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Marico, Mondelez International, Johnson and Johnson, Yellow Diamond and Quickheal come on board even before the launch.

Discovery India senior VP, GM South Asia Karan Bajaj noted that the company has achieved pre-launch inventory sales targets from Discovery Jeet. “The ad sales targets for the first quarter have been exceeded,” he asserted.

Without disclosing the ad rates, Bajaj said that the pricing has been pegged with premium content. Advertisers, he noted, value premium content that reaches a more premium audience.

Bajaj said that the advertisers began to gravitate towards Discovery Jeet after they saw the quality of content. “We are enthused with the response that Discovery Jeet has been able to garner from the consumers, the advertising community as well as the affiliate partners. We will be dialing up an aggressive marketing campaign even further as we get closer to the launch of Discovery Jeet,” said Bajaj.

The broadcaster has already started planning for the third wave of programming scheduled for the first quarter of 2019 even before the channel has launched.

The Discovery India head honcho also said that Discovery Jeet is meticulous in planning a show’s storylines and character arcs and making sudden changes to a story like having a character die out of the blue are out of the question.

When asked if the Hindi GEC will also air movies, Baja said that there is no need to have movies as content has to have a reason to be present.

He said that when he took over he spent a lot of time putting a new team in place not because he was a new leader but because Discovery’s model changed from one that relies on foreign content to one that is following a ground-up content strategy. He further stated that when this was happening some of Discovery’s partners were positive, many were in the middle while others were skeptical.

Skepticism, he noted, was needed as it shows that one is doing something transformative. Discovery Jeet, according to Bajaj, is tapping an unmet need of consumers rather than trying to challenge the status quo. He also said that on the content syndication front there is interest already in markets like the US, UK, and the Middle East.

The focus of Discovery Jeet at launch has been on having great content rather than roping in a major star for a dance reality show.

Bajaj also highlighted that Discovery Jeet has achieved unprecedented consumer engagement with content trailers achieving record high completion rate of 65% on YouTube and 40% on Facebook. This is more than double the industry benchmark of 30% completion rate on YouTube and 20% on Facebook.

The company further said that Discovery Jeet’s content led trailers have cumulatively delivered more than 300 million impressions, more than 100 million views in just over of 2 weeks on YouTube and Facebook.

In fact, just the two trailers of 21 Sarfarosh and Swami Ramdev Ek Sangharsh have crossed 50 million views on YouTube and Facebook. This week, Discovery Jeet will release another 100+ pieces of digital content, with an aim to further intensify its reach on digital and give consumers a glimpse of the range of content on offer.

As reported earlier, Discovery Jeet is aiming to break the clutter in the Hindi GEC arena riding on purpose-driven entertainment content. Discovery Jeet will debut with 5 hours of programming band daily out of which 3 hours will be bespoke, ground-up original programming built on the thesis of the underdog winning.

The company is targeting a reach of 100 million plus households from day one of launch. It has also inked a deal with streaming giant Netflix to stream its show to a global audience. With an aim to be India’s first national GEC, Discovery Jeet will be available in Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu.

Dentsu Aegis Network chairman, CEO South Asia Ashish Bhasin noted, “I see it as an interesting area. There is always space for well researched, well-produced content. With the heritage that Discovery has of making interesting content, it could add a new dimension. However, I feel that overall there are just too many players in the different genres and Hindi GECs are no exception. Finally, there will be a consolidation and not more than five players will survive and thrive in each genre. Who thrives will depend on who is able to produce good quality content over a period of time.

“There is always need for good quality content. If Discovery is able to fill it then there can be a niche that they will be able to occupy. The challenge is how they do it on a consistent, on-going basis. It is not about doing it for one week or two weeks. It is about consistently doing it and ensuring that viewers stay engaged throughout. If they are able to do it then they will succeed. However, as I said, in general, there is going to be a consolidation and the guys who are giving the best content are the ones who will survive. If Discovery Jeet does that then they will thrive. If they don’t then they will not. They have to be among the three to four channels in a genre that resonate the most with consumers as these are the channels that will do well over a period of time.”

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