Animal Planet (stylized in all lowercase since 2018) is an American multinational pay television channel owned by the Warner Bros. Discovery Networks unit of Warner Bros. Discovery. First established on June 1, 1996,[1] the network is primarily devoted to series and documentaries about wild animals and domestic pets.[2]

Animal Planet
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaNationwide
HeadquartersSilver Spring, Maryland, United States[citation needed]
Picture format1080i HDTV
(downscaled to 480i letterboxed for the SDTV feed)
OwnerWarner Bros. Discovery
ParentWarner Bros. Discovery Networks
Sister channels
LaunchedMarch 22, 1994; 29 years ago (1994-03-22)

The channel was originally a joint venture with BBC Worldwide, and primarily focused on nature documentaries surrounding wildlife, targeting a family audience. In 2008, Animal Planet rebranded with a more mature programming direction, with a greater emphasis on aggressive and predatory portrayals of animals, as well as an increase in reality series following personalities involved in animal-related occupations and investigations. Animal Planet rebranded again in October 2018, pivoting away from its more aggressive branding.

As of January 2016, approximately 91,603,000 households receive Animal Planet.[3] Discovery has also established or licensed international versions of the channel in various regions.

History Edit

Animal Planet was launched on June 1, 1996; it was created by Discovery Communications in cooperation with BBC Worldwide. On January 1, 1997, Animal Planet's distribution grew as a result of Advance Entertainment Corporation selling the satellite transponder slot belonging to the WWOR EMI Service (a national superstation feed of Secaucus, New Jersey/New York City's WWOR-TV, that was implemented following the 1989 passage of the Syndication Exclusivity Rights Rule by the Federal Communications Commission) to Discovery Communications, replacing the feed with Animal Planet outright.[4]

In late 2005, as part of a multi-million dollar expansion, the National Aquarium in Baltimore opened an exhibit called "Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extreme". Animal Planet and the National Aquarium in Baltimore announced a multi-year partnership the year prior, which produced an original orientation film that gives Aquarium visitors background on the Australian area which inspired the new exhibit and a dedicated area inside the expansion where visitors can learn about Animal Planet's conservation efforts and other programming. The partnership also allowed the possibility of future productions of television programs about the National Aquarium in Baltimore's research and exhibits.[5]

In 2006, BBC Worldwide sold its 20% interest in the flagship Animal Planet U.S. network back to Discovery Communications.[6] The BBC maintained its 50% ownership in Animal Planet's European, Asian and Latin American channels, as well as a minority interest in Animal Planet Japan and Animal Planet Canada until November 15, 2010,[7] when BBC Worldwide sold 50% interest in Animal Planet and Liv to Discovery Communications for $156 million.[8] Animal Planet is additionally an associate member of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative.[9]

During the late 2000s, Genius Products announced a U.S. distribution agreement involving Animal Planet and TLC. Jakks Pacific also entered into a licensing agreement to develop Animal Planet-branded pet products.

2008 rebranding Edit

Animal Planet logo used from February 3, 2008 to October 14, 2018.

On February 3, 2008, amidst declining average viewership, Animal Planet underwent a major revamp in its programming and branding. The new lineup placed a larger focus on series portraying animals as "characters" in their own right, and more "aggressive" and story-based entertainment series targeting mature viewers 13-49 (such as Escape to Chimp Eden and the reality documentary series Whale Wars), as opposed to traditional nature documentaries and family viewing. The network also adopted a new logo, replacing its previous "elephant and globe" emblem with a stylized wordmark, and the new slogan "Same Planet, Different World". Network president Marjorie Kaplan explained that Animal Planet had been too "soft" and family-oriented, and that it was aiming to be "more aggressive and tapping into the instinctual nature of compelling animal content."[10][11][12]

In April 2010, Animal Planet introduced a new slogan and marketing campaign, "Surprisingly Human," as an evolution of the 2008 rebranding. The slogan reflected Animal Planet's increasing number of personality-based series following animal-related investigations and occupations, such as River Monsters.[13]

In April 2012, Animal Planet's entertainment-oriented direction was criticized after it broadcast Mermaids: The Body Found—a fictional documentary suggesting that mermaids were real. Despite its fictitious content, the documentary was widely viewed, and a follow-up entitled Mermaids: The New Evidence set an all-time ratings record for the channel.[14][15]

2018 rebranding Edit

On October 15, 2018, Animal Planet unveiled a new logo, featuring a symbol of a jumping elephant resembling the original logo. The new branding symbolizes a new mission of "keeping the childhood joy and wonder of animals alive by bringing people up close in every way." The new branding coincided with the October 28 premieres of Crikey! It's the Irwins (a new series following the family of Steve Irwin) and Amanda to the Rescue, and the premiere of Big Cat Stories the following night.[16][17]

On January 23, 2019, Animal Planet was launched in France, along with Discovery Turbo, Discovery World and TLC.

Programming Edit

Additions to the channel in the late 2000s, such as Meerkat Manor and Orangutan Island, reflected its shift toward "predation programming" and more immersive storytelling. Animal Planet intended the new direction to help revitalize stagnating ratings, after primetime viewership of the network dropped by 9% in 2007.[12] Animal Planet added pseudo-scientific documentary, reality television, and sitcom shows to its line-up.

Animal Planet is also well known for the Puppy Bowl, an annual special featuring puppies at play inside a football-themed setting. The special airs on the afternoon prior to the NFL's Super Bowl, and was originally narrated by commentator and NFL Films narrator Harry Kalas before his death.[18]

On October 29, 2022, months after the merger of Discovery, Inc. and WarnerMedia into Warner Bros. Discovery, it was announced that Pit Bulls & Parolees would air its final season,[19] while other shows like Lone Star Law and Louisiana Law moved to Discovery Channel. With the exception of Puppy Bowl XIX that aired on the network February 12, 2023,[20] the latest programming moves left Animal Planet to air reruns of the network's programming as well as other shows from other Discovery properties pre-WBD merger.

Animal Planet Magazine Edit

D.C. Thomson & Co. partnered with Discovery to publish Animal Planet Magazine in the United Kingdom. The magazine's first issue was published on February 16, 2011.[21]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ "Cable is there for kids" (PDF). Broadcasting & Cable. August 12, 1996. p. 35. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  2. ^ Vargas, Jason Edward (February 16, 2016). "Love What You Do and Do What You Love". Frontiers in Pediatrics. 3: 119. doi:10.3389/fped.2015.00119. ISSN 2296-2360. PMC 4754387. PMID 26909341.
  3. ^ "Cable Network Coverage Area Household Universe Estimates: January 2016". Broadcasting and Cable. NewBay Media. Archived from the original on October 14, 2016. Retrieved November 12, 2017.
  4. ^ Paikert, Charles. "Discovery dogs WWOR; Animal Planet gets leg up on Open Slots", Multichannel News, January 6, 1997.
  5. ^ "Aquarium Announces Partners in Australia Exhibit". National Aquarium in Baltimore. June 17, 2004. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  6. ^ "BBC Worldwide Annual Review 2005/06" (PDF). BBC Worldwide. March 31, 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 3, 2011. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  7. ^ EDGAR Filing Documents for 0000950134-07-004374
  8. ^ "BBC and Discovery Communications announce new partnership and BBC Worldwide sells its interest in joint venture to Discovery". BBC. November 15, 2010.
  9. ^ Member channels of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative Archived 2011-08-16 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Brune, Adrian (January 16, 2008). "Animal Planet presents new face to the world". PR Week. Retrieved February 2, 2008.
  11. ^ Becker, Anne (January 14, 2008). "Animal Planet Changes Its Stripes". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved February 2, 2008.
  12. ^ a b Stelter, Brian (January 14, 2008). "After Ratings Slip, Animal Planet Turns to Its Wilder Side". The New York Times. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  13. ^ Bierly, Mandi (April 8, 2010). "Animal Planet's new tagline: 'Surprisingly Human'". Entertainment Week. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  14. ^ Switek, Brian (May 31, 2012). "Mermaids Embodies the Rotting Carcass of Science TV". Wired. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  15. ^ Hibberd, James (May 28, 2013). "Mermaid hoax drowns Animal Planet's ratings record". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
  16. ^ Clarke, Stewart (October 16, 2018). "Rebranded Animal Planet Under Susanna Dinnage Goes Global (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  17. ^ Pedersen, Erik (October 16, 2018). "Animal Planet Rebrands With New Logo, Look & Mission". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 16, 2018.
  18. ^ Ryzik, Melena (February 2, 2008). "'Just Fine as Tackles, but They Can't Pass". The New York Times.
  19. ^ 'Pit Bulls and Parolees' Has Announced It's Final Season — But Why Is It Ending? - Distractify (published October, 29, 2022)
  20. ^ Meet the Players of Puppy Bowl XIX - (accessed December 13, 2022)
  21. ^ Loveday, Samantha (February 11, 2011). "DC Thomson Teams with Discovery for Animal Planet Mag". Archived from the original on May 30, 2013. Retrieved October 1, 2013.

External links Edit