When the channel was first produced, they were only able to offer 156,000 households access to the channel. This was on the basis of producing 12 hours of content per day, which would be from 3pm-3am. Whilst around 75% of the content was new to all Americans, this was not enough. Even 100% of the available households watching the channel were not enough to keep the channel alive.
In the beginning for The Discovery Channel, the future did look fairly shaky and bleak. Over the years the library of programs consistently got better and eventually enabled them to increase in the rankings against competitive channels. The likes of Soviet programming and some news broadcasts were aired in the first few years. This included the likes of the World Monitor program, which was first aired in 1988, this was originally created by the Christian Science Monitor. Starting with a span of just 156,000 households, they had hit the big time, now reaching over 5 million homes across America.
In the earlier years of The Discovery Channel, there were not many major news releases. That being said, in 2006, Discovery Communications were to announce some new changes in staff. The likes of Ted Koppel, Tom Bettag and eight former Nightline staff members were to join the team and take the channel that little bit further.
2006 was a turning point for the channel. It seems that previously the channel had relied on the likes of Monster Garage and even American Chopper to retain and increase the size of their audience. Instead, they needed to increase the amount of programs and documentaries that let them know the ins and outs of the world around them, as they were likely to be a big hit as well. After focusing on remapping the whole channel, to focus on the likes of science, history, and geography, the channels ratings increased a great deal.