TLC's Reach to Cross 100 Million Homes Internationally Next Week

Mark Hollinger
Mark Hollinger

“TLC's brand strength and programming diversity has become a powerful complement to the Discovery Channel brand," says Discovery Networks International boss Mark Hollinger as he eyes continued growth abroad.

The news comes amid DNI's continued growth.

DNI contributes about a third of Discovery Networks' revenue and profitability and has a higher growth rate than the U.S. business, Hollinger told The Hollywood Reporter, reiterating past comments from Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav, who he says is "very supportive" of the international business.

The U.K. is DNI's biggest market outside the U.S., but there remain many opportunities, he said.

Hollinger said that Latin America is "still a big growth region for us," with Brazil providing "an enormous growth engine" as pay TV is still underpenetrated there.

Meanwhile, in Asia, india is the big growth region since the country is very open to content and channel deals from outside. Similarly, Eastern Europe also has room for channels and pay tv growth, including in Russia and Poland, Hollinger said.

Discovery Channel is the company's most widely distributed network around the globe, reaching about 210 million homes outside the U.S., followed by Animal Planet with around 160 million, Hollinger said. The figures exclude regional distribution deals in China.

Investigation Discovery has been increasingly successful in the U.S., providing opportunities abroad, according to Hollinger. "ID is an interesting opportunity as is [Hasbro joint venture] The Hub and kids offerings."

Plus, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network is likely to have international upside as well.

"There will definitely be opportunities internationally," Hollinger said. "Along with the folks at Harpo, we are focused on the U.S. now. But distributors have asked us about it. We know there's an appetite, but we want to do it the right way."

Discovery Communications' advantage is that its non-fiction content travels well. "And so do good shows with compelling characters," such as Deadliest Catch and Gold Rush, Hollinger said.

How does the continuing debt crisis in Europe affect DNI? "It does have the potential to affect the business," Hollinger said, saying a default by Greece could have a domino effect. "International is about 30 percent advertising-driven. Economic problems presumably would affect the ad business earlier than affiliate fees. Concerns haven't really affected us yet, and they may not" if Germany continues to support its EU neighbors.

But Hollinger is more focused on the opportunities ahead. "In the new year, we will continue rolling out networks abroad and pursuing growth opportunities," he said.

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