The Rise of Discovery: ‘The world’s number one non-fi ction media company’
The global media enterprise that is Discovery consists of a range of television channel networks launched in 170 countries, and a growing number of digital media offerings distributed via the Internet and mobile telephony, targeting global segments of the world’s television and media audience (Discovery, 2008a). However, its current global operations has evolved from the single cable television channel, the narrowcaster Discovery Channel (originally the Cable Education Network Incorporated), launched in the US in June 1985 to 156,000 homes (Discovery, 2006a; McElvouge, 2000). This chapter maps out how Discovery and other global media players have harnessed the economic, political, and technological developments associated with the increased global linking and intertwining of the media and communications infrastructure and media landscape to expand worldwide. Following the same strategy as other American US-based media players, Discovery fi rst consolidated in the US, and then rapidly advanced into Europe, Latin America, and Asia. Although focusing on Discovery, the tracing of this development provides further insight into the characteristics and intensity of media globalization.