This Week In…Discovery Buzz

April 24, 2015 | by lstewart

Happy Friday! Discovery Education had a busy week, hosting on Thursday, April 23 both a live My Brother’s Keeper panel discussion, and a virtual field trip with Nutrients for Life celebrating the role STEM plays in agriculture.

My Brother’s Keeper is a national initiative aimed at improving the life outcomes of boys and young men of color; the live panel featured local and national leaders discussing the important efforts being taken thus far. The virtual field trip with Nutrients for Life engaged middle school students in STEM topics through a real-world look at the innovative technologies and scientific practices used during the planting and harvest seasons.

Here’s some other news you may have missed this week:

And in more exciting news, the first Shark Week promo has been released – and let’s just say, it’s jawsome! (Watch the video below and you’ll understand!)

Vote for Your Favorite Finalist in Discovery Education and Toyota’s Teen Driving Video Challenge

April 24, 2015 | by lstewart

Last week, Discovery Education and Toyota announced the 10 finalists in their fourth annual TeenDrive365 Video Challenge, and now you can help determine which lucky teen will be the People’s Choice Winner! Now through April 30, you can place your vote online for the best video – with the winner receiving $5,000 cash prize and a behind-the-scenes trip to a taping of a Velocity network show.

Created by Discovery Education and Toyota, the contest invites teens across the nation to direct and produce short videos to inspire their peers to drive more safely and avoid risky behavior behind the wheel. This year’s competition was extremely competitive with more than 1,000 videos submitted from students across the nation. A panel of judges from Discovery Education and Toyota will select the first, second and third place winners. The grand prize is $15,000 and the chance to work with a Discovery film crew to reshoot his or her entry video into a TV-ready PSA to air on a variety of Discovery networks.

To watch this year’s video finalists and cast your vote, visit

Discovery Channel and Investigation Discovery Rank as #1 Favorite Channels in Latest Beta Research Study

April 22, 2015 | by lstewart

The latest results of the Beta Research Cable Subscriber Study – Brand Identity of Basic Cable/Broadcast Networks have been released, with Discovery Communications receiving top rankings for several of its U.S. networks. For the 9th year in a row, Discovery Channel ranks #1 (tie) as a favorite channel among total viewers, this year sharing the top ranking with the company’s own Investigation Discovery (ID).

Discovery’s portfolio of networks also claimed the #1 ranking in a number of additional categories. Discovery Channel tied for #1 with Investigation Discovery on being described as bold/tries new things and also tied for #1 with Animal Planet for being described as informative and distinctive. Discovery Channel, ID and Animal Planet grabbed the #1 ranking in a multi-network company tie this year for having many original programs and series. Also receiving high marks in several categories of its own, Animal Planet ranked #1 or tied for #1 among total viewers on being high-quality and entertaining.

Other notable study results for Discovery Communications’ networks include:

  • Discovery Channel ranked #1 (tie) among total viewers on being described as valuable.
  • Among male viewers of a cable network, Animal Planet ranked or tied for #1 when described as distinctive, entertaining, high quality, informative and valuable.
  • ID also ranked #1 (tie) on being valuable among viewers age 18-34.
  • Science Channel tied for #1 as being informative among male viewers 18-34 and female viewers 18-49.
  • American Heroes Channel (AHC) tied as a #1 favorite channel among viewers 25-54 and for being entertaining among male viewers. AHC also ranked #1 on being bold/trying new things among total female viewers.

*Note – Some #1 rankings for Discovery Channel and Animal Planet are based on basic networks (excluding digital basic networks). On some #1 rankings, a Discovery network statistically tied for #1, rating an insignificant one to two points below another network(s).

Guest Post: Aric Noboa’s Impressions from the 2015 Skoll World Forum

April 21, 2015 | by lstewart

Today we’re featuring a guest post from Aric Noboa, President of Discovery Learning Alliance. Last week, he attended Skoll World Forum, an annual gathering that brings together delegates from a variety of sectors to participate in a series of debates and working discussions geared towards overcoming social challenges around the world.

Impressions from the 2015 Skoll World Forum By Aric Noboa

As the 2015 Skoll World Forum came to a close, I was struck by two themes that emerged in almost every session I attended.

First, there is a desperate need to work across sectors, break down the silos and see the interconnectedness between the social, the economic and the environmental. Human life doesn’t operate in neat categories. If the nearby river water makes my daughter sick, I have to stay home from work. So is this the purview of the environmental, health or economic NGO? I would submit that the community itself actually needs to be empowered to identify and solve it’s own problems. Therein lies the opportunity and the challenge for social entrepreneurs and NGOs alike. Thankfully, Skoll is one of the few places where “investment” is spoken of alongside “aid.” Coming to Skoll from Washington, D.C., this is particularly refreshing.

As it did in every session I attended, this thread of interconnectedness emerged when Charmian Gooch from Global Witness discussed the connections between social, environmental and economic justice.

Second, as Jeff Skoll himself put it, “if there was ever a silver bullet in development, girls’ education is it.” His presence later at the girls’ education session was a testament to his commitment in this area. I look forward to talking with his team about a new narrative film Discovery Learning Alliance is developing to change traditions and break down some of the barriers to girls’ getting into school, and staying and learning while they are there.

Speaking to interconnectedness in girls’ education, Graça Machel reinforced the need to change harmful traditions through family, school, community, and the faith community. She recognized the realities of the current aid structure and the way “we adopt agendas” into categories. Aid should be about the whole person through their whole life: kids who are ready for school will learn, supported girls will stay in school and can transition into productive women ready (alongside their male counterparts) for employability and leadership.

ICAI commissioner Diana Good sent a poignant message in her session on government innovation: if we can’t get more than 20 percent female representation in the boardrooms of the United Kingdom and North America, what standing do we have to teach others about gender equity? The systematic disempowerment of women is happening globally; this cannot be ignored if the human race is to move forward.

So what about the man? Not “The Man,” but men and boys. Discovery Learning Alliance works with local educators and governments to raise the level of teacher professional development, trains teachers in gender responsive pedagogy and motivates community action to address barriers to girls’ education…while at the same time encouraging peer and mentor support among boys. Men and boys must be brought into the conversation in order to create lasting change.

Discovery Communications is partnering with the UK Department for International Development in a project implemented by Discovery Learning Alliance to get more girls in school and learning in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. It’s an innovative and unique public-private partnership that is working closely with local educators and governments to build capacity around media as a catalyst for quality education for girls (and boys) and we hope will serve as a model for others.

Philo T. Farnsworth, one of the inventors of television, thought his work would bring about world peace…I can think of no better time in history to fulfill the ultimate promise of media to help shape a more just, more robust and more sustainable world.

The challenges are great – some are political, some are systemic and some are related to traditional practices. Collaboration, gender equity and the ability to change hearts and minds around the world will all be key elements to broader social change. The relational mash-ups coming out of Skoll will play a significant role in tearing down the silos and building lasting solutions. 


Carne Ross, Pamela Yates, Jess Search, Dawn Porter and Charmian Gooch speaking about the power of storytelling in a session at the 2015 Skoll World Forum.


Zak Ebrahim, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond M. Tutu, and Reverend Mpho A. Tutu at the Opening Plenary of the 2015 Skoll World Forum in Oxford.

This Week In…Discovery Buzz

April 17, 2015 | by lstewart

Happy Friday! A few exciting updates have come through since the last “Discovery Buzz” post about some recent births – including the birth and subsequent naming of Katie’s newborn calf from Animal Planet’s Giraffe Birth LiveAnd on the TLC front, Derek Dillard also shared details on the birth of his and Jill’s new baby boy.

Here’s some other news you may have missed this week:

Enjoy the weekend!

Could You Go One Day Without Producing Trash? Take Discovery Digital Networks’ Zero Waste Challenge

April 13, 2015 | by kdelmonico

Zero Waste ChallengeWhile the average American produces a shocking 4.3 pounds of trash a day (a number that adds up to more than 1,600 pounds a year) one New York woman has produced less than one mason jar of waste in the last two years.

A recently-launched episode of Seeker’s Going Off Grid profiles Lauren Singer and her decision to reduce the amount of trash she produces by making some simple – and some not-so-simple – lifestyle changes. Reusing, composting and recycling almost everything, Lauren shops in bulk from farmer’s markets and grocery stores, uses a compostable toothbrush, and makes her own toothpaste, deodorant and make-up in reusable containers.

Inspired by Lauren’s lifestyle, Discovery Digital Networks is challenging people to take the Zero Waste Challenge, going one day without producing any trash, on Tuesday, April 14th. For every Tweet to @SeekerNetwork with the #zerowaste hashtag, Discovery Digital Networks will donate $1 to Keep America Beautiful.  Keep America Beautiful is the nation’s leading nonprofit that works within communities to educate people on environmentally friendly best practices and to revitalize and transform public spaces into beautiful sustainable places.

You can check out Lauren’s episode of Going Off Grid below and take some of her tips and tricks to help reduce the trash you produce – even if just for one day.