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The New York Times Company and Discovery Communications, Inc. Announce Joint Venture in Discovery Civilization Channel.

Business Editors


The New York Times Company and Discovery Communications, Inc. announced today a joint venture to co-own and develop Discovery Civilization Channel into a leading network for in-depth, entertaining and fresh perspectives on history, from ancient to contemporary; current events; changing world cultures, and geographic journeys.

In addition, the two companies announced a programming output agreement under which DCI will produce and purchase programming from The Times's television production unit over the next five years.

Discovery Civilization Channel is one of six channels DCI launched in 1996 to take advantage of emerging digital platforms and to augment its more fully distributed U.S.-based channels - Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, the Travel Channel and Discovery Health Channel, as well as its channels in 154 countries around the world. Since then, Discovery Civilization Channel, now available in 14 million U.S. households, has developed a following by bringing to life the epic events, great leaders and changing cultures that continue to shape the world from ancient times through to the 21st Century. The partners will build on this foundation by expanding the network's programming to include fresh approaches on current events and contemporary history, but not focusing on breaking news. The partners also plan to increase the Channel's distribution substantially in the next several years, to use the Times's brands extensively across the Channel and to use their media outlets to market and cross-promote the Channel.

"This strategic partnership puts us among leading news organizations taking advantage of the convergence of communication technologies and furthers our goal of providing high-quality news, information and entertainment across media," said Arthur Sulzberger Jr., chairman of The New York Times Company and publisher of The New York Times. "Just as we successfully extended our content to the Internet with, we are continuing our move into the rapidly growing medium of digital cable television for the benefit of our knowledge-hungry audience.

"Discovery has long been regarded as one of the outstanding programming providers in television. Its quality programs are an excellent fit with our sensibilities and standards and its strong brand, successful track record and established leadership in the cable industry will be extraordinarily beneficial in this new partnership," said Mr. Sulzberger.

"With our new partner The Times, Discovery Civilization Channel will be the network for audiences to take a journey through times, then and now," said John S. Hendricks, DCI founder, chairman and CEO. "This partnership between two of the most respected media companies around the world represents an enormous vote of confidence in the future of quality television."

"This joint venture advances our strategy of being the leading global real-world media and entertainment company," said Judith A. McHale, DCI president and chief operating officer. "We are thrilled to join with a company of The Times's stature and unparalleled ability as an information and entertainment enterprise to continue bringing global audiences the very best in thoughtful and entertaining television at a time when they increasingly desire even more context and explanation about the world around us."

Under the terms of the joint venture, The Times has invested $100 million to buy a 50 percent ownership position in Discovery Civilization Channel. DCI will own the other 50 percent and will continue to control and manage the Channel, which will be governed by a Board of Directors with three DCI representatives and two Times representatives. In addition, an editorial board, with equal representation from both DCI and The Times, will direct appropriate subject areas for the Channel, which will continue to be operated from DCI headquarters in Bethesda, Md.

The separate five-year output agreement is designed to make DCI's family of networks around the world a primary distributor for The Times's high-quality programming across a number of nonfiction genres. Over the past few years, The Times has extended its quality journalism in cable television and is now an important independent producer of nonfiction television programming. Under the terms of the output agreement, DCI will engage the services of The Times's television production unit to produce $40 million of programming over the next five years. The programming will be produced for various DCI channels, including Discovery Civilization. In addition, The Times will produce short segments for Discovery Civilization that will introduce and complement programs from DCI's extensive library of real-world programming. Over the past six years, DCI and The Times have jointly produced a number of programs, including the award winning Trauma: Life in the ER, Maternity Ward and Paramedics for TLC; World Birthday for Discovery Health; and On the Inside: Wall Street for Discovery Channel.

The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT), a leading media company with 2001 revenues of $3.0 billion, publishes The New York Times, The Boston Globe and 16 other newspapers; owns eight network-affiliated television stations and two New York radio stations; and has more than 40 Web sites, including and In 2002 the Company was ranked No. 1 in the publishing industry in Fortune's list of America's Most Admired Companies. Among all 530 companies on the list, the Company ranked No. 1 in quality of products/services and No. 1 in social responsibility. The Company's core purpose is to enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news, information and entertainment.

Discovery Communications, Inc. (DCI) is the leading global real-world media and entertainment company. DCI has grown from its core property, the Discovery Channel, first launched in the United States in 1985, to current global operations in 155 countries with over 700 million cumulative subscribers. DCI's programming is tailored to the specific needs of viewers around the globe, and distributed through 85 separate feeds in 33 languages. DCI has 14 entertainment brands including TLC, Animal Planet, the Travel Channel, the Discovery Health Channel, Discovery Kids, Discovery Civilization and a family of digital channels. DCI's other properties consist of and 167 Discovery Channel retail stores. DCI also distributes BBC America in the United States. DCI's ownership consists of four shareholders: Liberty Media Corporation (NYSE: L), Cox Communications, Inc. (NYSE: COX), Advance/Newhouse Communications and John S. Hendricks, the Company's Founder, Chairman and CEO.

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Apr 5, 2002
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