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Animal Planet Launched October 1, 1996 Owned by Discovery Communications Picture format 1080i (HDTV) 480i (SDTV/16:9 letterbox) Slogan Surprisingly Human. Country United States Language English Broadcast area National Headquarters Silver Spring, Maryland, United States Sister channel(s) Discovery Channel TLC Hub Network OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network Science Military Channel Discovery Fit & Health Investigation Discovery Destination America Velocity Website Availability Satellite DirecTV 282 (HD/SD) 1282 (On Demand) Dish Network 184 (SD) 887 (HD) DSTV 264 Cable Verizon FiOS 130 (SD) 630 (HD) UPC Poland 380 (SD) 381 (HD) Available on many cable systems Check local listings for channels IPTV Sky Angel 311 AT&T U-verse 252 (SD) 1252 (HD) Animal Planet is an American basic cable and satellite television channel that is owned by Discovery Communications. It carries documentary programming focused on or relating to animals. Originally focused on more educationally-based television shows, and the network has focused instead on more reality programming since the late 2000s. It is available throughout the United States, as well as in over 70 countries around the world. Country-specific versions of the channel have been created in Canada, India, Japan, Taiwan and other countries. As of August 2013, approximately 97,699,000 American households (84.26% of households with television) receive Animal Planet. History Animal Planet logo prior to February 3, 2008. Animal Planet was launched on October 1, 1996, it was created by Discovery Communications in cooperation with the British Broadcasting Corporation. On January 1, 1997, Animal Planet's distribution grew as a result of Advance Entertainment Corporation selling the satellite transponder slot belonging to the WWOR EMI Service (a national superstation feed of Secaucus, New Jersey/New York City's WWOR-TV, that was implemented following the 1989 passage of the Syndication Exclusivity Rights Rule by the Federal Communications Commission) to Discovery Communications, replacing the feed with Animal Planet outright. In late 2005, as part of a multi-million dollar expansion, the National Aquarium in Baltimore opened an exhibit called "Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extreme". Animal Planet and the National Aquarium in Baltimore announced a multi-year partnership the year prior, which produced an original orientation film that gives Aquarium visitors background on the Australian area which inspired the new exhibit and a dedicated area inside the expansion where visitors can learn about Animal Planet's conservation efforts and other programming. The partnership also allowed the possibility of future productions of television programs about the National Aquarium in Baltimore's research and exhibits. In 2006, BBC Worldwide sold its 20% interest in the flagship Animal Planet U.S. network back to Discovery Communications. The BBC maintained its 50% ownership in Animal Planet's European, Asian and Latin American channels, as well as a minority interest in Animal Planet Japan and Animal Planet Canada until November 15, 2010, when BBC Worldwide sold 50% interest in Animal Planet and Liv to Discovery Communications for $156 million. Animal Planet is additionally an associate member of the Caribbean Cable Cooperative. During the late 2000s, Genius Products announced a U.S. distribution agreement involving Animal Planet and TLC. Jakks Pacific also just entered into a licensing agreement to develop Animal Planet-branded pet products. Relaunch On February 3, 2008, Animal Planet "relaunched" itself as part of a new branding campaign that "sheds its soft and furry side for programming and an image with more bite." As part of the relaunch, Animal Planet replaced its elephant and spinning globe logo for a starker text image that allows more flexibility in its usage. Eight new shows and specials were scheduled to debut in February of that year, with the new shows aimed at reaching a more adult audience with programming designed to tap into humans' basic instincts with stories that reiterate what makes humans human. The goal is to move from being perceived by viewers as paternalistic, preachy, and observation-based to being seen as active, entertaining and edgy. That means targeting adults 25-49, rather than full families, with less voice-of-God narration and more visceral imagery and sounds. Think of it as swapping a drab narrator saying that a lion is about to kill its prey for the blood-curdling scream of the doomed creature as it meets its demise. —Anne Becker, Broadcasting & Cable This rebranding effort continued in 2010 with a change of the network's slogan, from "Same Planet, Different World" to "Surprisingly Human". Programming Main article: List of programs broadcast by Animal Planet Recent additions to the channel, such as Meerkat Manor and Orangutan Island, reflect its shift toward "predation programming" and more immersive storytelling. Animal Planet intended the new direction to help revitalize stagnating ratings, after primetime viewership of the network dropped by 9% in 2007. Animal Planet added pseudo-scientific documentary, reality television, and comedy shows to its line-up. Animal Planet is also well known for its annual stunt program, the Puppy Bowl, a yearly special shown during the afternoon leading up to the NFL's Super Bowl, primarily consisting of puppies at play commentated by the late sports broadcaster Harry Kalas. High definition Animal Planet HD The 1080i high definition simulcast of Animal Planet launched on September 1, 2007; it is available on all major cable and satellite providers. It was also launched on February 3, 2009 in Norway for Canal Digital. Norway is the first country outside the U.S. to receive a high definition feed of Animal Planet. Competitors Animal Planet's largest animal-related competitor is Nat Geo Wild although Animal Planet focuses more on pets and domesticated animals, while Nat Geo Wild focuses more on wild and exotic animals. Animal Planet Magazine D.C. Thomson & Co. partnered with Discovery Communications to publish Animal Planet Magazine in the United Kingdom. The magazine's first issue was released on February 16, 2011. Investment in Petsami In November 2012, Revision3, the Discovery-owned online video network, entered into a partnership with Fishbowl Worldwide Media to distribute and sell advertising for its pets-focused YouTube programming, as well as to fund development of new shows, on its YouTube channel PETSAMI, run by FishBowl Digital Studio senior vice president and general manager David Beebe. The deal also constitutes a first-look deal, giving Revision3 (and its parent company, which owns Animal Planet) first right to distribute all co-developed shows. Controversies Mermaids Animal Planet originally aired Mermaids: The Body Found on May 27, 2012 and a sequel called Mermaids: The New Evidence about a year later. They tell a story of a scientific team's investigative efforts to uncover the source behind mysterious underwater recordings of an unidentified marine body. Included is the generally discredited aquatic ape hypothesis as evidence that mermaids exist, along with digitally manufactured video. Critics have decried the impression of these being actual documentaries, when in fact much of the material is made up, and the scientists shown are actors. Publicity for the program included a website falsely claiming government seizure of the site's domain, and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration put up a rebuttal to the program. See also Animal Planet (UK & Ireland) Animal Planet (Canada) Animal Planet Nordic Animal Planet (Australia and New Zealand) Animal Planet (Germany) Animal Planet (Poland) Animal Planet (India) Animal Planet (Asia)