Dec 2, 2020 - Economy & Business

Discovery joins Hollywood streaming wars with launch of discovery+


Discovery on Wednesday launched its new global entertainment streaming service discovery+ for $4.99 monthly. It will also include a $6.99 monthly ad-free tier in the U.S.

Why it matters: Discovery joins a very crowded field of entertainment streaming services vying for consumers' budgets.

Details: In the presentation, CEO David Zaslav made it clear that what he hopes will set its service apart is its global reach, its focus on unscripted content, and its talent-driven marketing plan.

  • "The power of our personalities is one of our biggest strategic personalities," Zaslav said in a presentation, referencing talent like former "Fixer Upper" co-hosts Chip and Joanna Gaines.
  • He noted that the service will have exclusive content from the popular duo. The pair joined Zaslav on the virtual presentation to talk about their new shows.

At launch, the streaming service will have over 50 original series and more than 55,000 episodes in total. It's the first time it's making its entire library of content across all of its nearly 20 TV channels available to consumers.

  • Zaslav says they have a strong head start on other services, due to decades of production experience and distribution relationships made globally via its traditional TV networks.
  • "We have always believed that great IP [intellectual property] that we own globally in every language, great brands, great talent, and a wealth of entertainment and sports content around the world sets us apart," he said.
  • To that end, Zaslav said that discovery+ will be the streaming home of the Olympics in Europe next year.
  • He also noted that the company has already brokered distribution agreements with telecom providers abroad, like Italy's Telefonica and Sky in the U.K.

Discovery's reliance on unscripted shows stems from the fact that its TV channels mostly focus on topics that are ripe for reality and documentary programming. Its networks focus on topics like:

  • Home and lifestyle (HGTV)
  • Food (Food Network)
  • True crime (TLC)
  • Relationships (Lifestyle and Own)
  • Science (Planet Earth)

The service will also include digital content from GroupNine Media, a digital media company that owns brands like The Dodo, which focuses on animals, and NowThis, which focuses on news.

The bottom line: Discovery is different from some of the other entertainment companies launching streaming services because, like Netflix, it's a standalone entertainment company — its sole mission is to create content.

  • Many of its rivals, like Disney, Comcast and Apple, use content to sell other things, like theme park tickets, broadband and phones.
  • It's also launching with an existing global footprint. Other companies, like Comcast, have had to make some pricey acquisitions in order to obtain a global reach for its subscription services.
  • Zaslav says discovery+ will roll out to 25 countries next year.

Go deeper: Inside Discovery's global streaming push

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