Animal Planet Strategic Opportunities - August 2008

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STRATEGIC OPPORTUNITIES

If it's animals, it's a safe bet that a stop on your program pitch tour must include Animal Planet. Then again, if you have an idea that might be adaptable to animals (think MEERKAT MANOR), then bring it here, too. And the more reality and realism, the better.

The old Animal Planet did not like to dwell on animal deaths.  The new Animal Planet, with a new logo, a new tag line and a new mantra likes wilder, more dangerous critters.  Before, it was everything up to the death...now, we'll see a bit more killing and maiming -- animals vs. animals and animals vs. man. Titles with words like killer, ferocious, venomous and raw are finding more and more air-time. Not natural history so much as extreme wild life.

ORIGINAL:

It's the bulk of their programming, and they're open to pitches....usually more accessible than most nets.

ACQUIRED:

Tough to find as most inventory has been picked clean, but The Planet is always looking for "quality acquisitions."  Movies, sure, and there are a few UK acquisitions coming up.

PROGRAM SUBMISSION PROCESS:

(http://producers.discovery.com/esub/esub.nsf.)

Go-ahead decisions have been made quarterly. The network welcomes ideas from established vendors, as well as new producers.

Don't overdo it on a first-time pitch that could be, in their words, "shot down in 30-seconds."  A tape is necessary if there is talent involved.

E-mail submission process is a part of it, before or after a meeting.

A one-page submission of the idea is sufficient.

CABLEU NEED TO KNOW:

HEROES in all forms works, be it ANIMAL PRECINCT or in MIAMI, DETROIT or HOUSTON.  It holds up the 10pm time slot, sometimes the network, as pretty much every telecast is significantly above the network average.  No reason for concern here.

The MEERKAT copycats (LEMUR, ORANGUTAN, CHIMPS) weren't as strong as the animal that spawned them, programming-wise.

"When animals attack" has become a genre unto itself, and is pulling in the men (or driving out the women??) for an increasingly more male and older audience skew. But these programs pull in the ratings and they are the building blocks of top-rated Sunday night.

Not sure about the presence of celebrities and/or personalities on the sked...but they must be credible, entertaining, authorities in their field.  Animal Planet does view themselves as "general entertainment," not "animals," so use that as your creative cue.  Characters are always important here so if you know a colorful person who's good with animals, we'd still keep them in mind.

Movie tie-ins seem to work, but that's usually studio generated.   Movies worked better when they were fresh, not necessarily star-filled either, so there's another obvious lead.  Pets are big on the website and in daytime...soon enough, in prime, too.   They say they're not looking for more DOG SHOWS, but they seem to work, at least most of the time. They already pretty much have the market cornered (except for USA's WESTMINSTER KENNEL CLUB SHOW). The HORSE SHOW did OK a couple times in the past.


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