A younger sibling to the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet began in 1996 as a niche that, within less than six years, had 80 million subscribers. Today’s it’s still one of the fastest growing American cable networks in the global market.
Released with TLC Beyond in 2006 as the second phase of Discovery Communications’ broadband broadcasting initiative, Animal Planet Beyond joined the original multi-channel portals like Discovery Channel Beyond and Travel Channel Beyond, both of which launched several months earlier.
The release of Animal Planet Beyond marked the first of Discovery’s broadband supplements to include an impressive amount of original content, apart from its traditional television programming.
Clips from the channel run from 1 to 10 minutes in length – though most tend to be around 2 – and are categorized by what’s new, what’s on TV, what’s popular, and a rotating line-up of various subjects. Some categories of past and present include Pets, Wild Animals, Prehistoric Beasts and Legends, AKC/Eukanaba, and Bug Week. Each section has roughly 5 to 20 clips, with commercials running before every few videos.
Since most of the clips were originally produced to air on Animal Planet, it goes without saying that the quality of the content is superb. Animal Planet Beyond also usually offers at least one series of original web content – currently, it’s Pet Trends. Maggie Gallant, founder of Spotlight Communications and a trend expert on NY1 News, is the affable host, showing viewers the latest in pet food, clothing, toys, and other accessories.
Maggie Gallant’s Pet Trends is a fun show, if a little odd. There’s one 3-minute show devoted to Doggles, a company that creates designer canine sunglasses. But like all of Discovery’s online broadcasting supplements, the constant advertisements before each video can be off-putting, especially since the videos are not much longer than the commercials.