Executives of TDC view between "4,000 and 5,000 hours of shows a year, and buy about 1,000 hours," said Ruth L. Otte, Discovery's president and chief operating officer. Selecting programming is "the most fascinating part of the business. We can reach around the world and pick from a wealth of opportunities available." Otte, who left MTV to join Discovery in 1986, estimates there are 500 vendors world-wide who produce material of interest to TDC.
In 1982 [John S. Hendricks] incorporated Cable Educational Network Inc., which owns and operates TDC. He launched his channel three years ago with financial backing from New York Life Insurance, Allen and Co., Inc., and Group W Satellite Communications, which anted up $5 million. That enabled Discovery Channel to purchase a piece of the universe's most expensive property, a position on Galaxy I communications satellite. That spot, known as Transponder 22, costs $250,000 a month and makes delivery of Discovery programming to cable systems possible.
PHOTO,, SHARON FARMER FOR THE WASHINGTON POST; PHOTO-COLOR,,Barry Dale Gordon -Image Bank CAPTION:"Whitecoat," a portrait of a harp seal pup in the harsh conditions of Canada's east coast, went to 3,000 cable systems last winter via The Discovery Channel. CAPTION:Discovery's [Denise Baddour], [Michael] duMonceau, [Sandy McGovern] and (seated) [Clark Bunting]. CAPTION:John Hendricks, Discovery Channel founder and chairman, and Ruth Otte, Discovery president, head the nation's fastest-growing cable service.
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