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Discovery launches licensing division

Discovery Communications, Inc.'s (DCI) new consumer products licensing division will target viewers who want to extend their Discovery Channel experience beyond what they see on TV....
June 1, 1997

Discovery Communications, Inc.’s (DCI) new consumer products licensing division will target viewers who want to extend their Discovery Channel experience beyond what they see on TV.

Discovery Enterprises Worldwide (DEW), a division of DCI, expects its first products to reach mass-market retail shelves beginning in the fall of 1998.

Robin Sayetta, vice president, worldwide licensing, DEW, will develop the licensing operation. She had previously been instrumental in launching the consumer licensing division at Scholastic.

Discovery Channel’s ranking as the number one media brand in overall quality among consumers in a 1997 EquiTrend Study, an annual brand-quality perception study conducted by Total Research, puts it in an enviable position to launch its consumer products program.

‘Manufacturers and retailers are saying that they want something that has continuity and longevity,’ says Sayetta. ‘We’re the alternative to more risky short-term properties.’

Discovery will employ what Sayetta terms a ‘classic brand extension strategy,’ seeking alliances with partners in the key consumer promotion, product and retail areas. The company will exercise a long-term and cautious growth mode. Games, puzzles and activity sets are among the initial categories most likely to be licensed because they invoke the type of exploration and problem solving that draws viewers to the channel in the first place.

Positioning will primarily be focused on family products. Sayetta believes that parents will want Discovery products because these items will help their kids understand the world around them. ‘We want Discovery to be the brand name for those types of experiences,’ she says.

Discovery-licensed product will reflect the channel’s programming attitude, but will not be title-specific. Sayetta projects program-specific licensed product within three years. An international effort will also be developed after a domestic track record has been established.

At the Licensing Show, DEW will explain to potential licensees how it plans to take the Discovery Channel experience and bring it to life as a non-television product. DEW is encouraged by the response that it has received from manufacturers and is speeding up its timetable to define its licensing strategy and direction. It expects to unveil product at the 1998 Toy Fair.

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