One Discovery Place
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
Telephone: (240) 662-2000
Fax: (240) 662-1868
Web site: www.discovery.com
In September 1995 Discovery Communications, Inc., made the move to the World Wide Web when it invested $10 million to launch Discovery Channel Online (Discovery.com). The new website featured news, non-fiction articles, options such as online shopping, and information about Discovery Channel's programming. At the time of its launch, Greg Moyer, president and chief operating officer of Discovery Networks, said the company was "extremely bullish" about the fast-growing online medium. Within five years of its launch, 4 million users each month were logging on to Discovery.com. In February 2000 the company made the decision to take advantage of the dot-com surge and combine its Internet and other media assets into a new business unit at an investment of $500 million spread over a five-year period.
To promote its new and improved website, Discovery.com (a subsidiary of Discovery Communications) and its agency, Publicis & Hal Riney, San Francisco, launched a national marketing campaign themed "Two Guys" with the tagline "Discover something new every day." The campaign, part of Discovery.com's $70 million consumer advertising budget for the year, included print ads, Web elements, and television spots that ran on the Discovery Channel and sister networks Animal Planet and the Travel Channel. The advertising featured two middle-aged men poorly disguised as a variety of characters, from mosquitoes to meteors, discussing things they had learned on the Discovery.com website just before meeting an untimely and unusual demise. In a TV spot one of the mosquito men gets swatted by his victim, and in another the meteor guys both burst into flames.
The campaign was a hit with consumers. Following its June 2000 launch the number of users visiting the Discovery.com website increased one percentage point (based on the number of people using the Internet at any particular moment). Although the ads resonated with consumers, in August, at the end of its preplanned summer run and without comment from Discovery.com, the campaign was canceled.
Discovery Communications launched the cable network Discovery Channel in June 1985 with 156,000 subscribers. As it grew Discovery Communications continued to add networks and subscribers, and in 2000 the company listed Animal Planet, the Travel Channel, BBC America, and the Learning Channel among its cable network holdings. In addition the company had begun to expand internationally into countries that included Latin America and Asia. Total subscribers for its combined networks had reached 269 million households by 2000.
As part of its expansion, Discovery Communications in 1995 invested $10 million in a new venture and
launched its website, Discovery.com. In 2000 the company expanded the Discovery.com website and developed it as a new wholly owned subsidiary with a planned financial investment of $500 million spread over a five-year period. While the investment in the project seemed huge, Gary Alden, principal analyst of Arlen Communications, told...