Discovery, BBC tipped to pre-empt National Geographic launch

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HONG KONG -- The Discovery Channel and the British Broadcasting Corporation are tipped to launch Animal Planet in Asia June 26 - less than a week before NBC and National Geographic launch their new National Geographic Asia 24-hour satellite service.

The National Geographic channel soft launches July 1, with October 1 set as the official launch date. An official launch date for Animal Planet is expected to be announced this week.

National Geographic Asia's ad sales team will be headed by former NBC ad sales boss Karen Chia. The new service has also plucked marketing head Deborah Armstrong from the NBC ranks.

NBC's Hong Kong-based general entertainment channel, NBC, closes at the end of June to make way for National Geographic, which will be based in Singapore.

Copyright June 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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