04/17/15: Animal Planet, Destination America and Velocity



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BEHIND THE SCENES at the Upfronts
The People! The Parties! The Buzz!a

Fast cars, wild animals and Mountain Monsters – all fall under the purview of Scott Felenstein, Executive Vice President Ad Sales for Discovery CommunicationsVelocity, Animal Planet and Destination America. While auto-focused Velocity is geared towards the upscale men’s demo, Animal Planet is a draw for pet owners and animal lovers of all stripes and DA, launched in 2012, targets A25-54 with travel, food, adventure and natural history programming exploring the  “U.S. of Awesome.” Felenstein makes the case for all three brands.


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What’s the Pitch?
“This year, Animal Planet has earned its third best year in network history, which is a great claim for advertisers,” says Felenstein. “And we’re broadening the network again.Over the past few years we’ve included human characters and now we’re getting people out to live wild.”

Adds Marjorie Kaplan, Group President of Animal Planet, TLC and Velocity, the net is “a powerful invitation to both men and women to live wild, because the more we live apart from the wild world, the more we crave experiences and entertainment that are more raw and more real.”

At Velocity, it’s all about reaching the elusive upscale male audience. “Velocity is the only 24-hour network dedicated to the auto enthusiast,” points out Felenstein. “It has one of the highest concentrations of male viewers on TV, and is one of the fastest-growing networks in all of TV over the last three years.”

Destination America ranks among cable’s five fastest-growing networks, and boasts a programming slate “packed with fun and all-American entertainment,” says Henry Schleiff, Group President of DA, Investigation Discovery, American Heroes Channel, Discovery Family Channel and Discovery Life Channel.

That entertainment includes “hunting for Monsters with our top rated show Mountain Monsters, cooking with their own special sauce with our BBQ shows like BBQ Pit Masters and BBQ Pit Wars, buying their own dream homes with our several property shows, including our newest, Buying the Rockies, and never giving up the fight with the United States of Victories with the successful addition of Impact Wrestling this year,” says Felenstein.

Standing Out From the Competition
What makes each net jump out from the pack? “Animal Planet has authenticity, original programming, compelling characters and low commercial clutter,” says Felenstein. “Velocity reaches an audience similar in composition to that of the NFL and college football, and offers 400 original hours of programming, including 100 live hours. And Destination America offers original content five days a week.”

Breaking New Ground
When it comes to ad categories, “Animal Planet is going for a larger share of ad dollars. We have most, if not all, categories, but we’re always looking for larger integrations and partnerships,” says Felenstein. “We are targeting home improvement stores and home improvement retail products with some of our build shows.”

Velocity’s targets: “QSRs, movie studios and general market retail are all on our list of categories to grow,” says Felenstein. And DA is looking for auto and auto aftermarket. “The category itself is underserved given our audience profile,” notes Felenstein.

What Clients Are Saying
“Our clients are excited about the direction of Animal Planet, and we offer great marketing opportunities,” says Felenstein. “Velocity provides a unique blend of marketing partnership opportunities from turnkey integrations to full one-hour branded entertainment opportunities.” As for DA, “The marketplace loves our Buying and Food shows.”

Programming Trends
“The building genre has become huge for Animal Planet for both ratings and revenue,” says Felenstein. “It started for us with our successful series, Tanked. We followed it up with Treehouse Masters, which gave us strong ratings and a great platform for partners in many different categories. This year we’ll have several more shows in the build space, including ‘Build Night.’”

Over at Velocity, the net is “premiering new shows to get the talent out of the garage,” says Felenstein, “offering new celebrity build shows and building on the next evolution of new characters.”

Destination America will stick with the all-American entertainment theme “that speaks to the strong audience,” as well as “continue to build on the genres that already work for the network, including property, food, paranormal.”



NBCUniversal has more cross-platform marketing opportunities than anyone. Period.

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Just Asking…
Velocity star – and self-proclaimed “gearhead” – Chris Jacobs (Overhaulin’, Barrett-Jackson Live) brakes to chat about what gets him revved up.

Job you’d most like to have but never will:
Professional golfer – possibly even playing in the Masters. Not win, just play!

Can’t-miss TV show:
Better Call Saul

Go-to social media:

First car:
A ’64 Ford Mustang convertible. I sold it for way too little and wish I still had it.

Coming up in “Backstage at the Upfronts,” hitting your mailbox at 6pm

Next week: Big news, programming notes and party chatter from Scripps, MTV, BET and more.

Keep Watching & Reading,
Lynn Leahey, Editor
Roberta Caploe: Associate Publisher @robertacaploe
Diane K Schwartz: Senior Vice President, Media Communications Group 

Cynopsis Ad Sales: Mike Farina | VP, Sales | 203-218-6480

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