Discovery sees Planet Green in 70 million homes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Discovery Communications said on Wednesday it expects to reach as many as 70 million homes with its upcoming Planet Green cable network within three years of its launch, up from a start of 52 million.

The company is converting its Discovery Home Channel into Planet Green, the first 24-hour U.S. television network dedicated to eco-friendly lifestyle programming that will launch in 2008.

“It could be a meaningful place for all the people that care about green, an advocacy network, so to speak, to advocate for the planet,” Discovery Communications Chief Executive David Zaslav told the Reuters Media Summit in New York.

While initial investment on the channel’s launch was set at about $50 million, Discovery is spending more than that on the project and is confident it will pay off with strong advertiser interest, Zaslav said.

He said he expects Planet Green viewers to increase to 65 million to 70 million within three years with the wider roll-out of digital video.

He cited an audience base that could, for example, include shoppers at organic grocer Whole Foods Markets Inc WFMI.O, who are interested in environmentally friendly living but want more information on how do it.

“The people that shop there, a lot of them pull in in their Yukons, and they’re still flying around. They haven’t changed dramatically the way they lead their lives. But they’ve made a decision that they want to do a little better, and that’s the people that we are going for,” Zaslav said.

Discovery Communications is owned by Discovery Holding Co DISCA.O, Advance/Newhouse Communications and its founder John S. Hendricks.

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