Discovery has been at the forefront of educational programming for quite some time. The channel has been airing award-winning documentaries and informational television series since launching in 1985. Towards the 2000s, the channel began showing more reality-type programming, and Shark Week has become one of the most iconic programming events in television history. Now with several sister stations and a budding digital empire, the channel is poised to continue educating the masses for years to come. Read on to find out more about Discovery that you definitely didn’t know!
Number Eight: Discovery Sponsors a Museum
Discovery Communications is the sponsor of Discovery Times Square, a museum in New York City’s Times Square (of course). The museum specializes in traveling exhibits and offers visitors a wealth of knowledge and interactive activities that will be sure to excite the entire family.
Number Seven: They Televise the Longest-Running Programming Event Ever
Shark Week was first broadcast in 1987 and has been aired every year since then. This makes it the longest-running programming event in television history. Though the event started out as an educational stunt to inform people about the misunderstood creatures, it has become more sensational over the years. After 28 years, Shark Week has become a part of American culture and has sparked numerous pop culture references. For example, check out Jacob Jeffries’ “Shark Week.” It’s guaranteed to make you laugh.
Number Six: They Used to Broadcast Russian Television
When the channel first started in 1985, its main programming focus was educational science and history documentaries. However, the channel also included a few news programs in their 12-hour line-up, most notably World Monitor and Vremya, a Russian news program which was delayed and subtitled. Vremya was not the only Russian programming the channel broadcast, though. According to Time Magazine, about 66 hours of Soviet television was decoded from satellite transmissions each week.
Number Five: They Want People to ‘Grab Life’
In 2013, Discovery changed their tagline to “Grab Life by the Globe.” Part of this change involved creating a platform for viewers to submit videos and photos of themselves seizing the day outdoors and in unique locations. People can still submit videos and photos to the online map with the hashtag “#GrabLife.”
Number Four: They Are Experimenting With Virtual Reality
Virtual reality has become the next frontier in video technology, and Discovery is catching on. The channel has a section on their website devoted to 360° video experiences surrounding nature, wildlife and outer space, as well as from popular shows, such as Mythbusters and Survivorman. “Discovery VR” is also available as an app for Apple and Android to be used with special virtual reality viewers.
Number Three: They Support Youth Education Initiatives Worldwide
Discovery set out to do some more good in the world by supporting initiatives to educate youths all over the world. In 1997, the brand established the “Discovery Channel Education Partnership,” now the “Discovery Learning Alliance.” The alliance uses the channel’s vast media empire to improve education and lifestyle in developing areas. They also support learning in the United States through the Young Scientist Challenge and Discovery Education, a library of educational video content made available for use in a classroom setting. The channel also has a series of digital textbooks on subjects ranging from science to social studies and math, which launched in 2010.
Number Two: They Broadcast the Highest-Rated Natural History Program Ever
When Planet Earth made its U.S. premiere on Discovery in 2007, the ground-breaking 11-part series exceeded all viewership expectations. During its run, the program was viewed by more than 65 million households, making it the most watched cable event in history. The series, originally created by the BBC, also won several awards, including an Emmy for “Outstanding Non-Fiction Series.”
Number One: They Were the First to Broadcast Live from the International Space Station
In 2006, Discovery made history when they broadcast the first-ever live downlink to the International Space Station on their Discovery HD Theater channel. The 19-minute broadcast shows Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria giving a tour of the space station, as well as discussing some of their experiments, concerns and what life is like up there. Thank you for reading our list of 8 interesting facts about Discovery. We hope you enjoyed it!