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Discovery Communications is the leader in global entertainment reaching 3 billion cumulative subscribers in more than 220 countries & territories.

Discovery Inc appoints Clare O’ Neil as commercial director for Africa

Discovery Inc has appointed Clare O’ Neil as their commercial director for Discovery in Africa. O’ Neil’s focus will be on driving commercial growth for the company’s eight TV brands in the region.

O’ Neil brings more than 30 years’ experience within the media and broadcasting industry. She started her career at the Argus Group and went on to fulfill multiple roles at M-Net during the 90s, one of them as part of the team who established Oracle Airtime Sales. Her career experience also includes roles at e.TV as the commercial sales director and at the SABC where she was general manager of Television Sales and from 2010 – 2013 served on the SABC Board as a Non-Executive director.  In 2014, Clare set up the Broadcast Research Council (BRC) and fulfilled the role of CEO from 2015 to 2018.

“I have an unflagging passion and tested dedication to the media and broadcasting industry, and I am extremely excited to embark on this new journey with Discovery. A big part of my role will be to focus on new advertising avenues and to ensure that our partners tap into our dynamic brand through the opportunities that exist across the eight channel verticals,” says O’ Neil.

Based in Johannesburg, O’ Neil joins Setshwano Setshogo who is Insights & Marketing Services Manager and will be part of a larger contingent team in the Dubai office led by Amanda Turnbull, Discovery’s general manager for Middle East & Africa. 

“We are investing in local expertise with this appointment and view it as a firm statement of intent and commitment and an important step forward in bringing the right balance between local and global, while unlocking opportunities beyond the traditional broadcast scope,” says Turnbull.

“With the addition of Clare, our Johannesburg team bring deep broadcasting and media expertise and I look forward to extending our business footprint within Africa through valuable partnerships in the Free to Air and digital space via collaboration and aggregation,” she adds. “This could mean using a broadcaster’s expertise and heritage or building an audience in a new area by collaborating with a partner and using their platform to bring content to life and package it in new and creative ways.”

Discovery Inc is celebrating 25 years in Africa, since the inception of pay-TV in 1995 and is the number one global content provider of factual entertainment, with a bouquet of eight international channel verticals in the market. These include – Discovery Channel, HGTV, TLC, Food Network, ID, Discovery Family, Travel Channel and Real Time, with thousands of premiere hours shown annually in the African market.

Four trends in the TV landscape to tune into this year

Keeping up with TV culture means tuning into customer demands. The way we create and view TV has completely changed. Thanks to massive advancements in technology and global connectivity, we’re no longer being fed dated programming, but can pick, click, fast-forward, pause and rewind TV content with ease. We’re firmly in control of what we view and we are spoilt for choice.

Amanda Turnbull, vice president and general manager of Discovery in Africa and the Middle East shares the latest media trends she’s watching right now…

The viewer has become the creator and the director – but Linear TV isn’t going anywhere

The past few years have seen a seismic shift in the viewing habits of consumers thanks to the rise of digital streaming platforms, smart TVs and smartphone devices. Audiences now have great freedom in terms of how, when and where they consume their content.

But, despite this disruption, reports show that the TV screen is still the go-to platform for our content viewing experiences – especially in South Africa, where average daily linear viewing time continues to grow, up 10 minutes from 2016 to 2017 (3’03” vs 3’13”)1.

Media companies that will survive this shift are those that can continue to capture people’s attention across all platforms, with cut-through content that meets the needs and demands of their target audience. For us at Discovery, this means optimising the power of our global portfolio to develop compelling specialist offerings, in both the linear and digital direct-to-consumer space, that target passionate fan communities, whether it’s lovers of crime, home, food or turbo content.

Consumers expect brands to stand for something

As the world becomes increasingly more connected, so too does our ability to stay informed about the issues facing our planet. It’s no surprise therefore that there has been a rise in conscious consumerism, as we seek out brands whose purpose resonates with our own values and beliefs.

According to one global survey in 2017, 57% of consumers either bought or boycotted brands based on their corporate values2. Media brands can and should play a role in this emerging trend; as broadcasters, it’s our responsibility to tell the stories that matter to our audiences.

This is what we’ve been doing at Discovery for the past three decades: driven by our curiosity in the world around us, we create content that brings communities together. And, in 2019, our audience will see even more purposeful content from Discovery, including the documentary special Tigerland, which premieres this month on Discovery Channel and forms part of our wider initiative, Project C.A.T. – a joint global campaign with the World Wildlife Fund to double the population of tigers living in the wild by 2022.

Powerful storytelling is everything right now.

With the abundance of viewing services available, and consumers becoming their own content creators, it seems like there is more content being made now than at any other time in history.

However, in this world of market fragmentation, powerful storytelling will always ring through. Globally, we’ve seen an explosion in big-budget scripted dramas which have audiences gripped, but there has also been a rise in the popularity of genres such as true crime, unscripted reality and topical documentaries.

Quality storytelling is part of Discovery’s DNA; it’s at the foundation of everything we do. While we don’t do scripted drama, we do tell the real, un-scripted stories of authentic, relatable characters and nourish fans of enthusiast genres. In Africa, this strategy has helped our networks become leaders in their categories – whether it’s lovers of sticky lifestyle content on TLC, thrill seekers on Discovery Channel, or crime enthusiasts on ID – proving that real-life stories can be just as compelling as a big-name Hollywood production.

Africa loves mobile TV content, and we know it.  

Mobile video is fuelling the fast-paced growth of streaming across all age groups — particularly among Gen Z and Millennials, 21% of whom are spending three hours a day consuming TV shows and video content on their smartphones3.

In Africa, it’s predicted that the number of mobile users is expected to hit over 6oo million by 20254, making it one of the fastest-growing mobile markets globally. Teens and young adults across the globe are prompting all content providers to reassess their business strategies as alternative platforms optimised for smaller screens, and we’re prepared for that disruption.

Globally, we’ve made significant steps forward in our mobile-first strategy, investing in Group Nine Media in the US, for instance, whose digital-first Millennial social video brands Thrillist, Now This, The Dodo and Seeker boast 7 billion monthly video views. In Africa, we have ambitions to reach consumers on every screen, service and format, but the market has its challenges and we can’t do this alone. We believe collaboration with other companies is vital to provide the best service for consumers who now demand a more seamless content discovery experience across all their devices.

1 Source: Eurodata TV Worldwide, One TV Year in the World 2018 Edition

2 Source: Edelman, Earned Brand Study 2017

3 Source: Trifecta Research Group

4 Source: GSMA, The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2018

Discovery to launch Real Time in South Africa

Discovery recently announced the expansion of its African portfolio with the launch of Real Time, the brand-new general entertainment channel for female audiences.

Bringing the best of Discovery’s lifestyle and factual storytelling to a whole new fan base, Real Time will launch in South Africa on Monday, 3 September on DStv channel 155, tailored specifically for customers on DStv’s EasyView package.*

“We are incredibly excited to present Real Time to the market, and further expand and diversify our local portfolio offering,” said Amanda Turnbull, vice president and general manager for Discovery in Africa and the Middle East. “With an already successful suite of pay-TV brands, Real Time affords us the chance to bring our world-class content to even more audiences across South Africa, in the form of a channel designed to provide much-needed ‘me time’ to the modern African woman and her wider family.”

Real Time: Africa’s Newest Entertainment Channel for Women

From Real Lives and Real Nature, to Real Crime and Real Medical; Real Time’s cleverly curated schedule and dynamic mixture of lifestyle and factual content will ensure audiences get their daily fix of real reality and must-see entertainment, all in one channel.

Real Time’s impressive launch programming line-up includes:

Real Lives
Our Little Family: Meet the Hamills! Parents Dan and Michelle are not raising the typical American family: the entire family of five has achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism. Dan and Michelle use their own life experiences to help guide their kids to overcome physical obstacles and learn to adapt to the world around them. (Wednesday 5 September at 21h00)

Real Weddings
Married by Mom & Dad: In this new social experiment, men and women who have been unlucky in love have agreed to put their love lives and their future in the hands of the people who know them best: their parents. (Tuesday 4 September at 20h00)

Real Medical
My Extreme Excess Skin: In each episode of My Extreme Excess Skin we follow two people who have lost massive amounts of weight and are about to undergo a full body transformation through skin removal surgery. The reveal will not only change each subject’s self-image but will change their life. (Thursday 6 September at 21h00)

Real Nature
Predators Up Close with Joel Lambert: This landmark series reveals nature’s apex predators as you’ve never seen them before. Using a new, unique and bespoke polycarbonate and aluminium ‘pod’, the Predator team come face to face with lions, hyenas, polar bears and sharks – close enough to carry out a range of original scientific experiments, and to feel the true power (and terror) of the natural world’s most effective killing machines. (Sunday 9 September at 20:00)

Real Headlines
Is OJ Innocent? The Missing Evidence: Is O.J. Simpson innocent in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman? In this six-episode series, investigators delve into one of history’s most infamous unsolved cases, exploring an overlooked suspect and never-before-seen evidence. (Saturday 8 September at 21h00)

Real Crime
People Magazine Investigates: America’s most popular weekly magazine, People, seeks to uncover the truth behind some of the country’s most infamous characters and iconic stories of crime. These are extraordinary tales of ordinary people who were thrust into the national spotlight. (Saturday 8 September at 21h00)

In addition to Real Time’s linear offering, from launch, a selection of the channel’s programming will also be available to stream and download via the DStv Now platform, ensuring all DStv customers can enjoy the best of Real Time, in their own time.

“With so much in store for our viewers and commercial partners, we look forward to establishing Real Time as Africa’s newest go-to destination for quality female-skewed programming,” continued Turnbull.

Experience why fact is better than fiction, when Real Time launches on Monday, 3 September on DStv channel 155.

**Real Time will also be available to DStv customers on the Access, Family, Compact, Compact Plus and Premium packages. The channel will also launch later this year on the StarSat platform.

StarTimes signs broadcasting deal with Discovery and Fox

StarTimes recently signed deals with both Discovery and Fox to bring high quality entertainment to viewers across Africa through TV and OTT platform.

Amanda Turnbull, vice president and general manager for Discovery in the Middle East and Africa (MEA), and StarTimes head of Content Operation Center, Janet Liu, agreed on the broadcast rights of three general entertainment and lifestyle channels. The deal will see StarTimes subscribers enjoy the best in family entertainment with the new addition of Discovery Family, alongside suspense-filled, true-crime channel, Investigation Discovery (ID), which will remain on the platform.

StarTimes and Discovery are also planning the launch of a new female lifestyle channel. Customised especially for the modern African woman, Real Time will launch later this year.

Fox executive vice president, Adam Theiler, and StarTimes head of Content Operation Center, Janet Liu, agreed to continue to broadcast Fox channels on StarTimes platform. These channels are FOX Channel, FOX Life, FOX Sports, FOX Sports 2, National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Baby TV and Voyage. They will be available in English, French and Portuguese.

Furthermore, StarTimes will also offer Fox and National Geographic content on its OTT platform. SVOD services Fox+ and NG+ will join some 70 channels already available on the StarTimes App.

Pioneer of video streaming in Africa, leading digital TV operator StarTimes enriches its platform’s content to fulfill growing demand from African users. StarTimes App, the digital TV operator OTT platform, has been launched in partnership with 23 telecom operators and now reaches 450 million mobile phone users. 

Jozi Film Festival call for 2018 submissions now open

The 7th annual Jozi Film Festival will take place from 27 to 30 September 2018. Discovery Channel’s Don’t Stop Wondering Award will also be making its return for a second consecutive year after receiving over 200 entries from all over Africa last year. This year’s prize from Discovery Channel will include a Canon XF-405 video camera with Singer Photographic camera accessories worth over $5,800 for the winner to use for their next filming project.

This year’s categories include:

  • Best South African Feature Film
  • Best International Feature Film
  • Best South African Documentary (long)
  • Best International Documentary (long)
  • Best South African Documentary (short)
  • Best International Documentary (short)
  • Best South African Short Fiction
  • Best International Short Fiction
  • Best South African Student Film
  • Don’t Stop Wondering Award

All submissions must be submitted via FilmFreeway and submissions close on 28 May 2018.

For more information visit the JFF website or Discovery Africa.

Discovery appoints MetropolitanRepublic as agency of record

 

Discovery has appointed integrated communications agency MetropolitanRepublic as its agency of record across its South African operation. This decision comes after years of the financial services company had been using a multiple-agency model to drive its marketing operations.

MetropolitanRepublic CEO, Alison Deeb, says the appointment is a great honour for the agency. “We did not win the account in the traditional way. Discovery hadn’t worked with a dedicated agency for many years, but rather chose to partner with a few agencies on their respective brands.”

In October 2016, MetropolitanRepublic was invited to pitch on a Discovery project, along with three other agencies. “After a number of iterations, we were awarded the Discovery broadcast sponsorship campaigns for the English Premier League and Sky Sports sponsorship” adds Deeb.

MetropolitanRepublic shot the commercials in Italy and Johannesburg, which featured Discovery Vitality brand ambassador, Olympic athlete and football fan, Wayde van Niekerk. It charted his journey from toddler to global superstar, showing how he has always harboured a deep love for the beautiful game, and in particular, the English Premier League.

Deeb says the experience was positive for both Discovery and MetropolitanRepublic. “It was after this work that Discovery decided to appoint us as its agency of choice. They loved our work and work ethic, and saw us as the right creative partner.”

Discovery chief marketing officer, Dinesh Govender, concurs, “We are thrilled to be working with MetropolitanRepublic to continue to build the Discovery brand.”

The partnership presents an incredible opportunity for MetropolitanRepublic. Discovery challenges the status quo and disrupts every category it operates in. Their shared- value business model focuses on creating a healthier South African society, which it facilitates by rewarding healthy behaviour.

The MetropolitanRepublic and Discovery teams share a desire to create truly great work. “The appointment means we will be servicing Discovery’s entire portfolio, including Health, Life, Invest, Insure and Vitality. And of course, the much-anticipated launch of Discovery Bank, for which the agency is geared up.”

Discovery Channel announces finalists for its Jozi Film Festival award

The search for the winner of Discovery Channel’s brand new award category at the sixth annual Jozi Film Festival has heated up. After receiving over 200 entries from across the continent, Discovery Channel is proud to announce the Top 10 finalists for the Discovery Channel Don’t Stop Wondering award.

From today and throughout August, each film will be broadcast on Discovery Channel and it will be up to viewers to decide which film should be chosen as the overall winner. Voting closes on Monday 28 August 2017 and each filmmaker stands the chance of winning a cash prize of $5,000 from Discovery Channel to go towards their next filming project.

“While this was Discovery’s first category in the Jozi Film Festival, we were thrilled with the quality and diversity of entries that we received,’ says Dilek Doyran, VP of commercial development and country manager of Africa and the Mediterranean. “Our hope was to find films which captured the ethos of curiosity and celebrated the uniqueness that the African continent has to offer, and with films from Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa and Uganda, we are confident the shortlist represents this. We look forward to broadcasting the Top 10 films on Discovery Channel, and showcasing the many different ways of celebrating Africanism.”

The Top 10 Films:

Discovery by Manqoba Shongwe from Swaziland
We explore every day but neglect to learn. In this film, Manqoba took the time to pay attention to some of the things he saw in his everyday explorations and shares what he gathered. Manqoba said, “It’s a great honour to be selected as a finalist in the Discovery Channel “Don’t Stop Wondering’ category of the Jozi Film Festival. Not only is it validating for my work to be recognised in this manner, but it is also really cool for my voice to be heard on such a platform.’ From Monday 31 July, 13h35

Puppetsula by Michael Rodrigues and Shaun James from South Africa

Puppetsula follows Jabu, a puppeteer who travels to instill joy in all those that witness his fiery performances of traditional dances. Michael and Shaun said, “Coming from hardship and still having a passion to give joy to others is truly remarkable. We applaud Jabulani Simango and can’t wait to share his amazing talent with our country. Thank you to Discovery for providing a platform for his story to be seen.” From Monday 31 July, 20h00

Sithaidi: The traditional Xhosa Bead Artist
by Caley Kolk from South Africa

This film follows Sithaidi’s journey to work every day: a scenic 6-hour trek in rural Transkei. The story showcases how creativity overcomes seeming human adversity, old age and a lifelong polio condition, and how creativity ultimately inspires us to live. Caley said, “As a first time film maker, I am simply delighted our film has progressed to the Top 10. I am thrilled that Thaidi’s story is finally being seen by the world – she is a woman of great strength and her simple philosophy, cocky nature and tenacity is a continual source of inspiration to me. In her own words, she is number 1. I hope to report back to her that her film is number 1 too!’ From Tuesday 1 August, 13h35

The Ascension
by Dieter Du Plessis from South Africa

This short documentary follows the journal of a trail runner, with a voice-over that relates life to mountain climbing. Dieter said, “It feels like a door being opened after years of knocking!” From Tuesday 1 August, 20h00

The Tragedy of Africa
by Dusty Van Niekerk from South 
Africa

The Tragedy of Africa looks at Africa’s beauty inside and out, following the sad reality behind the harsh rhino poaching crisis which South Africa faces. Dusty said, “I am so grateful and excited to be a part of this amazing opportunity to share my film with everyone” From Wednesday 2 August, 13h35

Mr Ability
by Okuyo Joel Atiku Prynce from Uganda

This is a story of Simon Peter Lubega, a physically impaired, creative artist who wakes up early every morning and works against all odds on his art pieces to raise money to support himself and his family. Okuyo said, “I am highly honoured to be set apart for this prestigious moment, amongst creative minds, by a world class channel. My first work as a director to be selected and aired on discovery channel is indescribable.’ From Wednesday 2 August, 20h00

Egg Slap by Pressilla Nanyange from Uganda

Egg Slap explores a childhood game, football, but with a twist. Pressilla said, “I am beyond excited to be selected among the top ten; I’m feeling blessed.’ From Thursday 3 August, 13h35

Sjangalala: The New Era by Siphiwe Phiri from South Africa

This is a documentary about a pastor who is breaking the stereotype surrounding the art of spinning cars. Siphiwe said, “I have been in the TV industry for over 8 years now and this is by far the biggest acknowledgement I have ever received for my work. Thank You to Discovery Channel Africa, Jozi Film Festival and ALL its sponsors for creating such a platform for young creatives like us! SIYABONGA!’ From Thursday 3 August, 20h00

Non-People by Wesley Rhode from South Africa

This documentary celebrates the trials and tribulations of South Africa’s informal recyclers– people that are over looked and ignored. Wesley said, “Myself and my team who put this film together are extremely excited and feel blessed to be chosen as part of the top 10 films, we are happy that our hard work has paid off and that our vision and our story has been recognized.’ From Friday 4 August, 13h35

Another Sunny Day by Tim Huebschle from Namibia

This film tells the story of how life must be for someone whose skin has no protection from the sun, living in a country that averages over 80% sunshine during any given year. Welcome to Paulus’s life in Namibia. Tim said, “To have Another Sunny Day selected as one of the Top 10 finalists is one of those magical moments that rarely happen. I’m humbled by the opportunity and look forward to viewing the other nine magical works from across our continent.’ From Friday 4 August, 20h00

Each film will be broadcast on Discovery Channel four times throughout the voting period. Voting is open on the Discovery Channel website and closes at 10h00 on Monday, 28 August 2017.  The winning filmmaker will be flown to Johannesburg to receive their prize at the Jozi Film Festival awards ceremony on 24 September 2017.

Discovery to develop mobile shows for Snapchat

Discovery Communications has announced plans to develop video series for its channel on the Snapchat social media platform.

The shows will be premium short-form mobile video produced exclusively for Snapchat, and some will be inspired by some of Discovery’s most popular properties, such as Shark Week and Mythbusters. The shows are expected to debut for Snapchatters in the US in the coming months.

“We’re thrilled to introduce our iconic Discovery content to the Snapchat community,’ said Paul Guyardo, chief commercial officer, Discovery. “There are few other platforms as dynamic and engaging, especially among younger audiences.’

“Discovery are world-class storytellers who have turned unlikely subjects into cultural phenomena,’ said Nick Bell, vice president of content, Snap. “We have seen what they can do when developing and producing creative concepts for TV and we’re excited to see what’s in store as they apply their talent and expertise to this new medium.’

The two companies also will collaborate to bring solutions to sponsors leveraging Snap’s innovative advertising technology and formats and Discovery’s stable of advertisers.

Source: Rapid TV News

Discovery Networks Africa announces its 2016-2017 programming slate

Discovery Networks revealed its line-up of shows at its exclusive Upfront event in Johannesburg.
Hosted by Lee Hobbs, VP of Brand and Content, Discovery Networks CEEMEA, and special guests Ed Stafford (Marooned with Ed Stafford), David Emanuel (Say Yes to the Dress UK), Riaan & Vasti Manser (Honeymoon Pacific), Brent Owens (Extreme, Authentic, Unwrapped), the winner of TLC’s Next Great Presenter competition, Carissa Cupido along with head judge Thando Thabethe, guests were presented with the big shows set to premiere in Africa next year across Discovery Channel, TLC Entertainment, Discovery Family, IDX and Animal Planet.

“In 2017 we are getting closer to our African audiences with several brand new series across our portfolio featuring local stories and local faces,’ said Lee Hobbs, VP of Brand & Content, Discovery Networks CEEMEA. “From Idris Elba’s triumphant return to Discovery Channel, which includes a story filmed right here in South Africa, to the Next Great Presenter winner who will make their debut on TLC in January, next year our channels will be more locally-relevant than ever. And with the return of our big, popular global franchises, our 2017 DStv content offering will be truly unmissable.’

Some of Discovery Networks Africa’s 2016-2017 programming schedule highlights include:

Discovery Channel:
Leading the way on Discovery Channel in Q1 are three new shows, featuring three well-known faces. Honeymoon Pacific (from South African production company, Oxyg3n Media) follows South African newlyweds Riaan and Vasti Manser as they take on their next extreme challenge – rowing the Pacific on the honeymoon of a lifetime. Brent Owens makes his debut on Discovery channel in Extreme, Authentic, Unwrapped (Oxyg3n Media), which sees the famous chef explore South Africa to unwrap the beautiful and diverse cultures and terrain. And heavyweight actor Idris Elba returns with the brand new series Idris Elba: Fighter, shot on location in Britain, Cuba, Japan, South Africa and Thailand, as he takes on what is the most physically and mentally demanding experience of his career – training to become a professional kickboxer.

Also premiering in Q1 is the highly-anticipated series Everest Rescue, which follows Mount Everest’s team of elite high-altitude helicopter pilots who risk it all rescuing the climbers who get into trouble on the mountain. Then in Q3, Discovery Channel presents its latest scripted project, Unabomber which tells the story of how the FBI brought down one of the most infamous criminal masterminds in the world – Ted Kaczynski, also known as the “Unabomber’.

TLC Entertainment:
Joining the TLC rostrum in Q1 is the TLC Next Great Presenter winner Carissa Cupido, who makes her debut in TLC’s Most Extreme, a look back at the most incredible moments and larger-than-life characters from the TLC vaults. From the most extreme I Dos, love lives and transformations, one thing is certain – there is nothing ordinary about these extreme shows!

Animal Planet:
Africa will once again take centre stage on Animal Planet in 2017. Premiering in Q1, Deadliest South Africa sees Kurdt Greenwood seek out and travel to remote reserves to find South Africa’s 12 most deadly snake species as he hopes to educate and inspire the masses to see the value of every creature. Following on from the popularity of Meet the Sloths and Meet the Orangutans, Meet the Penguins is a heart-warming new series coming to Animal Planet in Q2, which follows the work of Cape Town’s Sanccob Seabird Hospital where a passionate team are battling to save precious penguin lives. And in Keeping Up With The Kruger, we get up close to Africa’s most majestic and rare creatures amidst the stunning landscapes of South Africa’s Kruger National Park.

For more information visit the Discovery Communications website.

Discovery appoints leader to tap into growth opportunities in CEEMEA

With a focus on driving innovative commercial and creative solutions that deliver must-have products and services for consumers, Discovery Communications has appointed James Gibbons to the newly created role of executive vice president, head of Product and Business Development for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA).

Reporting to Kasia Kieli, president and managing director, Discovery Networks CEEMEA, Gibbons will lead the region’s commercial and creative efforts, with the goal of developing Discovery’s presence across every relevant consumer category, platform and market, by forging innovative partnerships and developing brands and products loved by consumers.

“We live in a world of limitless choice, in which driving an authentic and meaningful experience for our fans and business partners is what sets Discovery apart. By appointing James into this new leadership role, we are putting more focus on delivering that unique Discovery experience to our stakeholders, in more ways than ever before. James has pioneered the way in establishing transformative partnerships and creating new products in territories like Turkey, Africa and the Middle East, and I now look forward to seeing his entrepreneurial spirit and risk-taking mentality in action across the wider CEEMEA region.’ said Kieli.

“I’ve been with Discovery for almost 20 years but it still feels like the journey is just beginning,’ added Gibbons. “CEEMEA is a complex and diverse region, with tremendous potential in both the linear and digital space, and I’m looking forward to tapping into every opportunity, bringing Discovery and Eurosport content to more people, across more screens than ever before.’

As part of his remit, Gibbons will oversee CEEMEA’s central commercial, creative and product development teams led by:
– Lee Hobbs, vice president of Brand and Content CEEMEA, is responsible for developing Discovery’s portfolio of channels in the region, sourcing programs that are must watch for consumers, as well as overseeing brand development.
– Unai Iparragirre, vice president of Product Development and Innovation CEEMEA, will focus on developing new linear and non-linear products, as well as driving innovation within the existing portfolio of brands and products.
– Dilek Doyran, vice president of Commercial Development CEEMEA, will be dedicated to incubating and nurturing high-growth emerging markets across the region, including Africa.
– Qaisar Rafique, vice president of Strategic Development CEEMEA.

Working closely with country managers, Rafique will focus on developing commercial growth opportunities and diversifying Discovery’s business in key markets.

Before taking on his new position, Gibbons was EVP country manager for Emerging Business in Turkey, Middle East, Africa and the Mediterranean. He has been with Discovery for more than 17 years, starting in a programming role in Singapore and since then working in a variety of roles and territories across the globe, including heading up the Asia Pacific Content and Marketing division, and leading the consolidation of the Japanese business during his term as president of Discovery Japan.

During his tenure as country manager for Emerging Business, Gibbons spearheaded a number of initiatives which have significantly extended Discovery’s reach and scale in the region, including the launch of TLC as a free-to-air channel in Turkey after acquiring CNBCe from the Dogus media group, the expansion of the pay-TV business in the Middle East, and the partnership with Image Nation Abu Dhabi for the free-to-air channel Quest Arabiya, among others.

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