Science Documents Boeing’s 100-Year Mark

A documentary series on the history of aviation celebrating the 100th anniversary of Boeing will air on three Discovery Communications networks in the U.S., headed by the Science Channel, beginning Monday night.

Boeing, which commissioned the five-part series, is the presenting sponsor of Age of Aerospace.

After its debut on Science, it will appear on Discovery Channel later in February and American Heroes Channel in the spring. Discovery Communications will also show the series in 23 international markets and has built an interactive digital experience for Boeing as well.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The series was produced by The Documentary Group, headed by Tom Yellin, the former executive producer at ABC News. The Documentary Group brought the project to Boeing in 2012 and wanted access to Boeing’s archives, but maintained editorial control over the project, according to Anne Toulouse, VP of brand management and advertising for Boeing.

Boeing looked for a partner to air the series and selected Discovery. The aircraft maker was already a Discovery advertising client.

“Being in both the commercial and military business, we already invested in their properties,” says Toulouse. “We know the audience they attract. It was a great brand and a good fit.”

Discovery also was able to provide international outlets for the series, which Boeing wanted. “For us, because it’s really focused on technology, engineering, design, curiosity and great story telling, Science, AHC as well as Discovery Channel really fit the bill," said Jocelyn Egan, senior VP, solutions sales in the ad sales department of Discovery Communications.

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Boeing will be billed as the presenting sponsor of the series and will have four commercials in each episode. There will be other advertisers in the program as well. The channels are building themed nights around the Boeing series. Science will air other aviation-themed programming, while American Heroes will run a show showcasing heroic aviators. Discovery has also put together a tune in campaign that includes Boeing.

Egan says Discovery created a website for the series,, that will include the episodes, as well as engaging and interactive opportunities to learn more about the material in the documentary.

“They brought that forward. They gave us more than we ever imagined was possible,” said Boeing’s Toulouse.

Toulouse says the series is part of the company’s 100th anniversary initiative. “The way we’ve approached this centennial is to look for ways to celebrate, look for opportunities to engage and look for opportunities to inspire,” she said. “I think the documentary certainly is an opportunity to celebrate Boeing’s shared history with the world, the innovation and the technology. I also think it’s an opportunity to inspire.”

The documentary’s first episode, What Can’t We Do?, looks at Bill Boeing, Donald Douglas, James McDonnell and their contemporaries who built the aerospace industry.

Episode 2, Miracle Planes, looks at the role of planes including the B-29 Superfortress, P-51 Mustang and B-17 Flying Fortress played in winning World War II.

Shrinking the Earth looks at the jet age and the planes, including the Boeing 707 and 747 that were made possible by secrets discovered in a German Forest at the end of World War II.

The fouth episode, In theVastness of Space, looks at Project Apollo, which brought man to the moon.

The final installment looks at the troubles and triumphs as Boeing launched its new jet, the 787 Dreamliner.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.