Animal Planet (stylized as animal planet) is an American multinational pay television channel owned by Discovery, Inc. First established on October 1, 1996, the network is primarily devoted to series and documentaries about wild animals and domestic pets.
The channel was originally a joint venture with BBC Worldwide, and favored educational programming such as nature documentaries. Since its initial launch, the channel’s target demographics animal lovers; which are children and family audiences during morning and daytime, and for mature audiences during primetime and late night. In 2008 Animal Planet adopted a more mature programming direction, with an emphasis on aggressive and predatory portrayals of animals, as well as an increase in reality programs following
personalities involved in animal-related occupations and investigations. Animal Planet rebranded again in October 2018, shifting back towards a more family-oriented direction, despite still airing some mature programs.
As of January 2016, approximately 91,603,000 households receive Animal Planet. Discovery has also established or licensed international versions of the channel in various regions.
On February 3, 2008, amidst declining average viewership, Animal Planet underwent a major revamp in its programming and branding. The new lineup placed a larger focus on series portraying animals as “characters” in their own right, and more “aggressive” and story-based entertainment series targeting mature viewers 13-49 (such as Escape to Chimp Eden and the reality documentary series Whale Wars), as opposed to traditional nature documentaries and family viewing. The network also adopted a new logo, replacing its previous “elephant and globe” emblem with a stylized wordmark, and the new slogan “Same Planet, Different World”. Network president Marjorie Kaplan explained that Animal Planet had been too “soft” and family-oriented, and that it was aiming to be “more aggressive and tapping into the instinctual nature of compelling animal content.”
In April 2010, Animal Planet introduced a new slogan and marketing campaign, “Surprisingly Human,” as an evolution of the 2008 rebranding. The slogan reflected Animal Planet’s increasing number of personality-based series following animal-related investigations and occupations, such as River Monsters.
In April 2012, Animal Planet’s entertainment-oriented direction was criticized after it broadcast Mermaids: The Body Found—a fictional documentary suggesting that mermaids were real. Despite its fictitious content, the documentary was widely viewed, and a follow-up entitled Mermaids: The New Evidence set an all-time ratings record for the channel.
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