First is the formation of an ad-sales arm of Discovery Studios, the company's production unit. The new group will serve as an in-house creative branch to create customized ads for clients, offering the opportunity to use Discovery talent and branding, too. The studio is led by Carole Tomko, current head of Discovery Health, Discovery Kids and FitTV. The new ad opportunities stretch across all the Discovery networks, which include Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC and Travel Channel.
General Motors Corp. is the first client to sign on, and the first co-created ads will roll out this summer during the launch of Planet Green, Discovery's new dedicated green network.
Joe Abruzzese, president-ad sales, Discovery Communications, said the custom spots are designed to be pod-busting initiatives, but could also take the form of online video ads for Discovery's new web acquisition, HowStuffWorks.com. "This is a way for clients not to save money but to get more out of their deals," Mr. Abruzzese said.
Also getting more out of their Discovery deals this year is a pair of magazines co-creating their own branded shows. Up first is TLC's "Real Simple," a partnership with the Time Inc. shelter mag that will premiere in August. TLC President Angela Shapiro-Mathes said the show was a result of her development team's search to find its perfect editorial counterpart. "When we looked at our brand and Real Simple's brand, it was almost the same thing," she said. Beyond the TV series, the Time Inc. partnership will comprise a website, editorial content and other offerings, to serve multitasking women with a "full lifestyle makeover."
Similarly, Forbes will be making strides into TV with its new series, "Forbes Luxe Life," for the Travel Channel, an adaptation of its Forbes Travel niche mag. The show will take a Robin Leach approach to high-end travel destinations, hosted by various members of the billionaire Forbes family.