Discovery Communications announced Thursday that it is partnering with a Beijing-based media company to launch a cable channel in China.
The venture, called Qiu Suo (which translates to “Quest for Knowledge”), is part of the Silver Spring company’s efforts to ramp up its international presence, which last year accounted for $1.24 billion in revenue for the $5.54 billion company. Discovery is a large provider of cable programming in Europe and this year bought a controlling stake in Eurosport International, an operator of sports channels.
“While our investment domestically is certainly paying off . . . the faster expansion and greater opportunity remains, without question, across our unmatched international portfolio,” David M. Zaslav, president and chief executive of Discovery, said in a February call with investors.
The partnership with WASU Digital TV Media Group, which owns and operates Qiu Suo, marks a renewed emphasis on China for Discovery, which oversees more than 190 television networks, including the Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet.
Qiu Suo will air a number of nonfiction shows, such as “Man vs. Wild,” “Tanked” and “Desert Car Kings.”
“The new channel will introduce millions of Chinese viewers to some of Discovery’s best content,” said Arjan Hoekstra, president and managing director of Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific.
Discovery has been providing blocks of programming to networks in China for about 20 years, executives said. In 2013, the company added nearly 20 international feeds, resulting in a 22 percent increase in viewers, Zaslav said.
Separately, Discovery founder John S. Hendricks announced that he is retiring as chairman, effective May 16, ending 32 years with the company. He said he plans to establish a lifelong-learning academy through a new company called the Curiosity Project.
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