Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world’s number one nonfiction media company and Baidu, Inc. (BIDU), the largest global Chinese search engine, have announced the launch of the first-of-its-kind stand-alone content site in China. Launching today, discovery.baidu.com will provide consumers with a high-quality platform in which to interact and share knowledge and learn more about a wide variety of popular categories associated with the Discovery brand including science, technology, space, natural history, engineering, paleontology, archaeology, history and culture. The announcement was made at a press conference in Beijing, China, by Ren Xuyang, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, Baidu, and Tom Keaveny, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific.
“The launch of discovery.baidu.com represents an important step in building stronger brand awareness and consumer loyalty for Discovery in the key Chinese market,” said Greg Ricca, President and CEO, Discovery Networks International. “This deal with Baidu furthers Discovery’s strategy of increasing reach and distribution in key markets around the world while further leveraging the global appeal and long shelf life of our content categories with an innovative new partnership.”
“Baidu’s mission is to help people obtain information and find what they need in the easiest and quickest way, while Discovery is a leading provider of high-quality factual content,” said Ren Xuyang. “By combining the strengths and resources of Baidu and Discovery, we can integrate content from a traditional medium such as television with dynamic platforms such as new media, to satisfy the needs and demands of online users while continuing to explore newer and better ways for knowledge distribution.”
“Partnering with an established and respected player like Baidu provides scale in search, infrastructure and sales, minimizes operational risks, and ensures broad reach for Discovery’s brands and content,” added Tom Keaveny. “Through this strategic partnership, we can leverage on Baidu’s high traffic flow and large market share to provide audiences with a reliable and efficient engine through which they can search for and share information wherever they are and whenever they want, to satisfy their curiosity and explore the world around them.”
Baidu will have responsibility for the overall management of the website and Discovery will be the exclusive content provider. The content offerings, which will be customized and translated for the Chinese marketplace, will be ad-supported with Baidu and Discovery sharing the responsibility and revenue from third-party advertising sales. Both parties intend to continue developing projects together that will facilitate the sharing of knowledge and information – including in primary and middle schools throughout China – and provide consumers a reputable and credible source of information that supports the increasing demand for high-quality online content.
Today’s announcement expands upon Discovery’s long-standing presence in China, where the company first began television programming in 1998 with several programming blocks featuring high-quality content from across the company’s portfolio of networks including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Travel & Living, Discovery Home and Health and Discovery Science. Furthermore, Discovery Channel is available as a 24-hour channel in hotels and foreign compounds throughout China.
Baidu is the fastest growing Chinese online platform and has already captured a 73.2% market share for search requests. In 2008, approximately 246 million users in China utilized search engines, with the total number of requests for web page searches exceeding 150 billion. In 2009, it is estimated that the number of search engine users in China will exceed 300 million.