Palin deal reinforces power of Discovery

The news last week that Sarah Palin’s eight-part series about Alaska had been bought by Discovery Communications in a deal worth a little less than $1-million an episode will be rightly seen by many in the industry as another sign of how powerful the Discovery brand has become in the 25 years of its existence.

Started in 1985 by John Hendricks as “an entertainment channel about learning”, Discovery Communications now has approximately 1,5-billion subscribers in 170 countries.

So what is the secret of Discovery’s success? Although it is best known for the nature documentaries and travelogues that air on the flagship Discovery channel — the David Attenborough series Life, revoiced for the United States by Oprah Winfrey, recently attracted an audience of 33,8-million viewers on its debut.

Other companies backed off after learning that the series featuring the former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential candidate would not be a reality show like The Osbournes, but Discovery was not deterred.

For whereas its rivals would have desperately needed Palin family dramas to justify the price tag, Discovery knows that Palin-haters may well tune in to marvel at Alaska’s beautiful landscape if they’re also nature lovers. Yet although it is being billed as a cross between nature documentary and travelogue, the series will air not on Discovery but on reality-heavy TLC.

“TLC is grounded in great storytelling, strong characters and passionate audiences drawn to extraordinary people doing extraordinary things,” said the channel’s president and general manager, Eileen O’Neill, when the Palin deal was announced. “We are confident that Sarah Palin’s Alaska will be another compelling television event.”

In other words, it’s worth taking a $8-million shot on it because you never know when the travelogue might stop and the tantrums begin. —


Lekwa municipality won’t answer questions about why children died in...

Three children are dead. More than a dozen homes have been gutted by fires in the past six months. And, as...

Failure to investigate TRC cases during the Mandela era delayed...

Counsel for late trade unionist Neil Aggett’s family decries the slow pace of instituting an inquest into his death

SANDF colonel accused of swindling colleagues in UN business scam

A senior soldier who is part of South Africa’s peacekeeping missions is accused by her colleagues of swindling them out of of hundreds of thousands of rands in a nonexistent business deal

Mass store and job cuts at Massmart

Changed market conditions and an appalling economy has hit low end cash-and-carry outlets

Press Releases

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.

KZN teacher educators jet off to Columbia University

A group of academics were selected as participants of the programme focused on PhD completion, mobility, supervision capacity development and the generation of high-impact research.

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Is your tertiary institution is accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

Is your tertiary institution accredited?

Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education, which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training.

VUT chancellor, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, dies

The university conferred the degree of Doctor of Science Honoris Causa on Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi for his outstanding leadership contributions to maths and science education development.