Discovery ‘driving hard’ on 4K

David ZaslavDiscovery says it is ‘driving hard’ on 4K to ensure it is ready when pay TV platform operators start to demand content in the ultra high definition format.

CEO and president David Zaslav and international president JB Perrette both affirmed the factual channel specialist’s commitment to the emerging format at a Discovery event in Paris.

“Our content looks fantastic in 4K,” Zaslav said. “When there was the transition to HD we saw a bump in our market share because our content looked fantastic. We have been quietly driving very hard on the 4K transition, and are starting to see that happen; so, when distributors raise their hand and say we want some 4K, we are the leader and our content looks great. It’s an additional opportunity for us.”

International chief Perrette added that while in-home 3D has not worked, with consumers failing to take to wearing the required glasses for small-screen viewing, Discovery is keen to be ready should 4K take off in the same way that HD has done.

JB_Perrette_106.jpg“On the non-fiction side, we’ll be doing more 4K commissioning, although how it will get exploited is to be decided,” he told TBI.

“It uses a lot of bandwidth and a lot of distributors are working out what the level of demand is, but ultimately we want to be at the leading edge of that evolution.”

Channel operators and pay platforms are proceeding cautiously in terms of full 4K networks. BT recently announced an upcoming 4K sports channel, requiring customers to take a new settop box. That will be the first 4K channel in Europe when it rolls out in August.

Perrette added that having acquired Eurosport, sport could be a genre that lends itself content in the new format. “I think in sports we’d like to try and experiment in more ways and bring Eurosport into that wider Discovery fold of being on the cutting edge, and to do some more things in 4k.”