Here at Discovery we’re getting ready for our favorite time of the year… Discovery Channel’s Shark Week! While we’ll make sure to remind you when cable’s longest running event returns in the U.S. on August 1, leave it to “The Most Interesting Man in the World” to help get us in the spirit.
Archive for June 2010
Ever since I started using Foursquare and “checking in” to One Discovery Place (the world headquarters of Discovery Communications here in Silver Spring, Maryland), I’ve been reminded that “Matt B.” is the mayor here, or the person who has checked in most frequently at this location. I’ve always wondered, “Who is this elusive Matt B.? How has he maintained his mayor status so consistently?” Well, I decided to find out. Matt B., it turns out, is Matt Brown, a web producer on our Discovery Creative team. Here’s what he had to say:
You’ve been the mayor of One Discovery Place for as long as I’ve been on Foursquare. How did you do it — were you a really early adopter? What drew you to Foursquare?
I don’t consider myself an early adopter. I joined Foursquare last October (Foursquare was launched 7 months prior), and my first “check in” was at (where else?) Discovery. I became mayor through diligence and checking in every day I was here. It took me a little while to become mayor because I had to outlast the others who were checking in at the time. I was drawn to Foursquare for two reasons: 1) I saw it as a natural extension to Twitter, as many of my online friends and co-workers also participated on both Foursquare and Twitter, so I could see more of what they were up to; and 2) To satisfy my curiosity – I’ve “discovered” (no pun intended) many local places from following people on Foursquare.
Do you ever come in early or make weekend visits to work just to boost your status? Are you afraid to take vacation for fear of losing your title?
No, I play Foursquare honestly and don’t try to boost my check-ins. I’m never here on the weekends, as I live an hour away (near Frederick, Maryland). I haven’t been afraid of losing my mayorship until recently when I’ve noticed more people checking in here on a regular basis, and one person in particular who seems to check in every time I do. But I view being mayor as a temporary thing and expect to eventually lose my status. Part of the fun of Foursquare is seeing how long you can be mayor of a venue.
Do you use Foursquare in your social life? How?
Yes I do. I’m very active on Twitter, and I use Foursquare updates to keep up with my online friends and inform them of what I’m up to. There’s also something cool about checking in to a venue, seeing one of your friends also checked in, and meeting up with that person — without having planned it out before.
Mayors are often defined as the “chief executives” of a city, town, or municipality. What special powers would you like to have as the (Foursquare) chief executive of Discovery Communications?
A reserved parking spot or free lunch once a week for the mayor would be nice, and perhaps a top hat and Mayor sash to wear on ceremonial occasions.
The icemaker on my floor tends to spew ice all over the floor when I fill my water bottle — can you do anything about that?
Uh, let me get back to you on that. I need to go check-in for lunch.
Last night Discovery Channel had Las Vegas seeing NYC taxi’s trademark yellow and black, as Cash Cab and host Ben Bailey nabbed two Emmys at the 37th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. Bailey even took to the red carpet, quizzing soap stars (sans cab, of course) before the live telecast.
Early in the evening, Cash Cab was named Outstanding Game/Audience Participation Show, besting Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, The Price is Right and Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, and taking home the honor for the first time. Ben Bailey followed that up with his third consecutive win in the Outstanding Game Show Host category (past winners include Pat Sajak and Alex Trebek), as Discovery Channel brought home Emmys for both of its nominations.
Congrats to the Discovery Channel team, Ben Bailey and all the winners last night!
On Monday night, Magnolia Pictures’ Freakonomics, based on the bestselling book by Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubnero, opened the AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival. Celebrating its eighth year, Silverdocs 2010 features seven (very full) days of programming showcasing over 80 films plus special screenings, music performances and dozens of panel discussions featuring hundreds of filmmakers, topics and media professionals.
Back to opening night, Freakonomics — directed by a “dream team” of documentary filmmakers, including Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side), Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp), Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight) and Seth Gordon (King of Kong) — brings the book’s famously applied statistics and incentives analyzing human behaviors to the screen. For example, Gibney examines Sumo wrestling and the uncomfortable truths about this ancient and revered sport, while Spurlock looks at the consequences of a name (think “Sheniqua” or “Tripp”) on a person’s future prospects. Discovery Channel President & GM and Science Channel President Clark Bunting provided an introduction and highlighted Discovery’s proud and longstanding sponsorship of Silverdocs. Afterward, filmmakers Gibney, Grady and Ewing participated in a post-screening discussion at the sold-out AFI Silver.
Running in conjunction with Silverdocs, a companion professional conference celebrates the art of business and documentary storytelling. This year’s theme explored the challenges and opportunities of “360 Degree Storytelling.” FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and Michael Winship, President of the Writers Guild of America (East), were featured speakers earlier this week.
While there are too many films to catch them all, Waiting for ‘Superman‘ by Davis Guggenheim (An Inconvenient Truth) and The Tillman Story are two highlights this year. The first examines the effects of the 2001 No Child Left Behind legislation, with filmmaker Guggenheim reminding us that statistics have names: Anthony, Francisco, Bianca, Daisy & Emily (in this case). Meanwhile, tomorrow night’s Festival closer, The Tillman Story, tells the heartbreaking story of NFL star defensive back Pat Tillman, who joined the Army in May 2002 and died in Afghanistan.
Additionally, as a part of Discovery’s participation in the festival, Planet Green and Investigation Discovery welcomed filmmakers to One Discovery Place on Thursday night to celebrate Silverdocs and the networks’ documentary strands — Reel Impact and ID Films.
With so many great films and events this week, there are simply too many to write about them all. If you’re in the Washington, DC area, there’s still time to catch some great films. If not, visit silverdocs.com to follow the festival through video reports, the blog and more!
Last Friday, in celebration of Discovery’s 25th anniversary, the company launched Discover Your Impact Day — a day of global volunteerism representing 150+ projects, 35+ offices and 3,000 employees worldwide. The way we figured, the world has given Discovery countless wonders and real-life storylines to explore, the least we could do is give something back to the planet that has given us so much.
So from Australia to Poland, employees accomplished one of the world’s biggest “honey-do lists” imaginable. We cleaned 35 parks and beaches, painted 15 schools and community buildings, and prepared meals & organized donations at 26 shelters for children, orphans and animals. Discovery employees volunteered to impact the land, water and people of our world and to honor our founder’s original vision of making a positive impact on our planet by stepping out of the office, rolling up our sleeves and working to make a difference.
Executives tossed aside their suits and ties for grey Discover Your Impact t-shirts and well-worn jeans. And even some of our talent got in on the action — they’re part of the family too after all. In the Washington, D.C. area, Chief Ocean Correspondent Philippe Cousteau joined in at Glen Echo Park, restoring the “Discovery Creek” habitat and preparing it for young environmentalists to further their ecological studies.
Founder & Chairman John Hendricks and President & CEO David Zaslav have declared Discover Your Impact Day an annual event to be held during our Anniversary Week for years to come, so that we can come together to not only do good for others but to do good for ourselves. Watch the video recap below:
More on Discover Your Impact Day
We’re an on-the-go world (in fact, I’m writing this from the train). In the past week, Discovery has expanded on its mobile offerings with the announcement of two new apps for iPhone and iPod touch to enlighten and entertain kids of all ages — U.S. Geography by Discovery Education and WhizzBall!
U.S. Geography by Discovery Education (coming to iPad later this summer) offers up multimedia content hand picked by Discovery Education curriculum experts and aligned to national learning standards. The app allows users to explore seven U.S. geographic regions (Pacific, Mountain, Southwest, Midwest, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and New England) across six categories, such as bodies of water, culture and major cities. It is available for download in the U.S. for $4.99 on the App Store.
WhizzBall! builds on Discovery’s most popular online game ever. This game is all about puzzles – the ones we’ve built and user-generated puzzles you can submit. WhizzBall! is fun for the family and a fun way to keep challenging yourself (you can even try to top the leaderboard). The WhizzBall! App, which just hit the App Store today, is currently available for download globally for $1.99.
So, if you’re looking for a way to keep your kids (or anyone else) mentally sharp over the summer, check one or both out. I can attest…they’re addictive.