Discovery Setting It’s Sites On Green

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Discovery Communications has announced that it plans to start a 24-hour channel focused on eco-friendly living. Riding on the tails of its successful “Planet Earth” series, the company will rebrand its Discovery Home Channel with a name that has yet-to-be selected. The channel, expected to debut in 2008, will be dedicated to the highest quality programming for a green lifestyle and will initially be carried in 50 million homes. The channel will be the centerpiece of a new multimedia content initiative called PlanetGreen [1].

The Discovery PlanetGreen global initiative consists of the following elements:

  • The first 24-hour television network dedicated exclusively to green lifestyle programming, including eco-design, organic food and green architecture.
  • A 50 million dollar investment towards the creation of content focused on sustainable development, conservation, organic lifestyle and healthy living. The first major project, “Ten Ways to Save the Planet”, will be a global effort to identify solutions to the planet’s most serious environmental threats. The series is scheduled to premier in the third quarter of 2008.
  • A robust multi-platform offering with interactive tools and comprehensive “how-to” resources.
  • Annual scientific exploration with explorer and wilderness educator Josh Bernstein to the planet’s most endangered locations to raise awareness.
  • A world renowned advisory board, consisting of preeminent scientists, researchers, innovators and environmental leaders, will help to guide Discovery’s global efforts.
  • Discovery will host a PlanetGreen Innovation Conference showcasing the latest inventions and innovative technologies currently being developed.
  • Discovery will further it’s commitment to responsible operations and make its global headquarters in Siver Spring, Maryland a carbon-neutral building.
  • Discovery will work with a broad coalition of partners, including The Nature Conservancy, and, to produce relevant and entertaining programming, to provide timely, reputable information, and to inspire individuals to make a difference.

Discovery PlanetGreen will be headed by Eileen O’Neill, former General Manager of the Discovery Health Channel. Discovery Communications Chief Executive David Zaslav said in an interview [2]:

“To be able to rebrand an existing channel and launch with over 50 million homes in 2008 is a big statement to where the world is today. Five years ago, people would have said ‘who are those lefties talking about green’? Today, green means responsible.”

Today green also means profitable. More and more people are willing to spend more for energy-efficient and eco-friendly goods and services. Indeed, a recent Orbitz survey found that 63% of Americans would pay more to rent a hybrid vehicle or stay at a “green” hotel [3]. Additionally, 52% of Americans state they would be willing to donate a small portion of their vacation budget to help save the environment when booking a trip.

It will be interesting to watch the development of eco-friendly advertising and marketing on Discovery’s new channel. I doubt the network will change the world, but maybe it can give it a big push in the right direction.


  1. Discovery Communications to Dedicate 24-Hour Television Network Exclusively for the Environmentally Conscious Lifestyle. PR Newswire, United Business Media. April 5th, 2007.
  2. Discovery to start ‘green’ cable channel. United Press International. April 5, 2007.
  3. Orbitz Survey: 67% of Americans Stress Importance of Eco-friendly Travel. PR Newswire, United Business Media. April 11, 2007.
About the Author

Walter Jessen is a senior writer for Highlight HEALTH Media.