Animal Planet

Animal Planet
Animal Planet 2009-present
Launched October 1, 1996 (1996-10-01)
Closed December 1, 2016 (2016-12-01) 20 years
Owned by

Discovery Communications

Picture format 1080i (HDTV)
480i (SDTV/16:9 letterbox)
Slogan Surprisingly Human.
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area National
Headquarters Silver Spring, Maryland, United States
Sister channel(s)
DirecTV 282 (HD/SD)
1282 (On Demand)
Dish Network 184 (HD/SD)
Verizon FiOS 130 (SD)
630 (HD)
Comcast Cable 66 (SD)
224 (HD)
Sky Angel 311
AT&T U-verse 252 (SD)
1252 (HD)
Southern Fibernet 125 (SD)
1125 (HD)
Zazeen (Canada) 94 (HD)
Streaming media
PlayStation Vue Internet Protocol television

Animal Planet is an American basic cable and satellite television channel owned by Discovery Communications. Originally focused on more educationally-based television shows, the network has featured more reality programming since 2008. It is available throughout the United States, as well as in over 70 countries around the world. Country-specific versions of the channel have been created in Canada, India, Japan, Taiwan and other countries.

As of February 2015, approximately 94,288,000 American households (81% of households with television) receive Animal Planet.[1]


Animal Planet 1996-2008.

Animal Planet was launched on October 1, 1996; it was created by Discovery Communications in cooperation with the British Broadcasting Corporation. 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.[2]

In late 2005, as part of a multimillion-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.[3]

In 2006, BBC Worldwide sold its 20% interest in the flagship Animal Planet U.S. network back to Discovery Communications.[4] 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,[5] when BBC Worldwide sold 50% interest in Animal Planet and Liv to Discovery Communications for $156 million.[6] Animal Planet is additionally an associate member of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative.[7]

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.


Animal Planet 2008-2009.

On February 3, 2008, Animal Planet "relaunched" itself as part of a new branding campaign that "sheds its soft and furry side for programming and an image with more bite."[8] As part of the relaunch, Animal Planet replaced its elephant and spinning globe logo for a starker text image that allows more flexibility in its usage.[9] Eight new shows and specials were scheduled to debut in February of that year, with the new shows aimed at reaching a more adult audience with programming designed to tap into humans' basic instincts with stories that reiterate what makes humans human.[10]

The goal is to move from being perceived by viewers as paternalistic, preachy, and observation-based to being seen as active, entertaining and edgy. That means targeting adults 25-49, rather than full families, with less voice-of-God narration and more visceral imagery and sounds. Think of it as swapping a drab narrator saying that a lion is about to kill its prey for the blood-curdling scream of the doomed creature as it meets its demise.
Anne Becker, Broadcasting & Cable[9]

This rebranding effort continued in 2010 with a change of the network's slogan, from "Same Planet, Different World" to "Surprisingly Human" to coincide with their non-animal related programming.[11][12]


Recent additions to the channel, such as Meerkat Manor and Orangutan Island, reflect 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.[11] Animal Planet added pseudo-scientific documentary, reality television, and sitcom shows to its line-up.

Animal Planet is also well known for its annual stunt program, the Puppy Bowl, a yearly special shown during the afternoon leading up to the NFL's Super Bowl, primarily consisting of puppies at play; the original commentator was the sports broadcaster Harry Kalas.[13]

High definition

The 1080i high definition simulcast of Animal Planet launched on September 1, 2007; it is available on all major cable and satellite providers.

It was also launched on February 3, 2009 in Norway for Canal Digital. Norway is the first country outside the U.S. to receive a high definition feed of Animal Planet.[14]

Animal Planet Magazine

D.C. Thomson & Co. partnered with Discovery Communications to publish Animal Planet Magazine in the United Kingdom. The magazine's first issue was released on February 16, 2011.[15]

Investment in Petsami

In November 2012, Revision3, the Discovery-owned online video network, entered into a partnership with Fishbowl Worldwide Media to distribute and sell advertising for its pets-focused YouTube programming, as well as to fund development of new shows, on its YouTube channel PETSAMI, run by FishBowl Digital Studio senior vice president and general manager David Beebe. The deal also constitutes a first-look deal, giving Revision3 (and its parent company, which owns Animal Planet) first right to distribute all co-developed shows.[16]


Pseudo Documentaries

Animal Planet originally aired Mermaids: The Body Found on May 27, 2012, and a sequel called Mermaids: The New Evidence about a year later. They tell a story of a scientific team's investigative efforts to uncover the source behind mysterious underwater recordings of an unidentified marine body. Included is the generally discredited aquatic ape hypothesis as evidence that mermaids exist, along with digitally manufactured video. The program is hosted by several scientists. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration put up a rebuttal to the program.[17]

The channel has also broadcast a pseudo-documentary called Lost Tapes.

See also


  1. Seidman, Robert (February 22, 2015). "List of how many homes each cable network is in as of February 2015". TV by the Numbers. Zap2it. Retrieved February 24, 2015.
  2. Paikert, Charles. "Discovery dogs WWOR; Animal Planet gets leg up on Open Slots", Multichannel News, January 6, 1997. Retrieved February 24, 2011 from HighBeam Research.
  3. "Aquarium Announces Partners in Australia Exhibit". National Aquarium in Baltimore. June 17, 2004. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  4. "BBC Worldwide Annual Review 2005/06" (PDF). BBC Worldwide. March 31, 2006. Retrieved April 30, 2011.
  5. EDGAR Filing Documents for 0000950134-07-004374
  6. "BBC and Discovery Communications announce new partnership and BBC Worldwide sells its interest in joint venture to Discovery". BBC. 15 November 2010.
  7. Member channels of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative
  8. Brune, Adrian (January 16, 2008). "Animal Planet presents new face to the world". PR Week. Retrieved February 2, 2008.
  9. 1 2 Becker, Anne (January 14, 2008). "Animal Planet Changes Its Stripes". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved February 2, 2008.
  10. "Animal Planet Reveals A New Species of Entertainment for 2008". Discovery Communications. January 14, 2008. Retrieved February 1, 2008.
  11. 1 2 Stelter, Brian (January 14, 2008). "After Ratings Slip, Animal Planet Turns to Its Wilder Side". New York Times. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  12. Bierly, Mandi (April 8, 2010). "Animal Planet's new tagline: 'Surprisingly Human'". Entertainment Weekly PopWatch Blog. Retrieved July 8, 2012.
  13. Ryzik, Melena (February 2, 2008). "'Just Fine as Tackles, but They Can't Pass". New York Times.
  14. "Nyhet! Animal Planet HD" (in Norwegian). Canal Digital. January 13, 2009. Archived from the original on February 7, 2009.
  15. Loveday, Samantha (February 11, 2011). "DC Thomson Teams with Discovery for Animal Planet Mag". Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  16. Shaw, Lucas (November 28, 2012). "Discovery's Revision3 Extends Partnership With Fishbowl Media, Invests Development Money". The Wrap. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  17. Claim: An Animal Planet documentary revealed the existence of mermaids.

External links

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