Discovery, home to HGTV, Food Network, and Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week, is entering the streaming space with Discovery Plus.
Discovery Plus will start at $4.99 with an ad-supported tier, along with a $6.99 ad-free option. CNBC first reported the news. The streaming service will launch on January 4th, 2021. The company aims to bring the service to more than 25 countries around the world over the next year. Each subscriber’s account will allow up to five different profiles, and four concurrent streams. The company’s press release does not note if Discovery Plus will offer content in 4K, but notes it will be available on “major platforms, including connected TVs, web, mobile, and tablets” at launch. Roku and Amazon are in negotiations right now to carry Discovery Plus, but deals have not been reached.
As part of the roll out, Discovery is partnering with Verizon to give a number of the telecom company’s 55 million customers a free year of ad-free Discovery Plus. New and existing customers on Verizon’s “Play More or Get More Unlimited” plan will get a year of Discovery Plus free. Customers on “Start or Do More Unlimited” plans will receive six months free. On the internet side, new customers who sign up for Verizon 5G Home Internet or Fios Gigabit Connection will receive a year of free Discovery Plus.
The company’s collection of notable brands is likely what executives are banking on. CEO David Zaslav spoke about the company’s approach at a recent conference, as reported by The Hollywood Reporter, noting that “super fans” will want a place to watch their favorite personalities from their favorite shows on networks like HGTV (Property Brothers) or the Food Network (Guy Fieri, Ina Garten) — and then some. There are also plans for original content that would be exclusively available on Discovery Plus.
“We have been aggressively driving additional original content ... we think you need a substantial amount of original content,” Zaslav said.
In an effort to make a competitive play in the space, Discovery has prepped a number of original series to entice people to sign up on top of fan favorites, and will launch with over 55,000 episodes of television. Original content will “premiere 52 weeks a year,” according to Zaslav. A full list of originals can be found on The Streamable, but some of the exclusive originals that Discovery Plus will host include:
- New 90 Day Fiance series, and home to the entire 90 Day Fiance universe
- A new Long Island Medium series
- A new travel and food series starring Food Networks’ Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis.
- New House Hunters series
- A new series from Magnolia Network’s Chip and Joanna Gaines
Discovery isn’t a mammoth conglomerate in the same way that many of its streaming competitors are (Disney, WarnerMedia, ViacomCBS, NBCUniversal), but niche streamers have found their places before. Crunchyroll, which caters to anime fans, has more than 3 million subscribers. Shudder, a streamer dedicated to horror content, passed the 1 million paid subscribers mark this year. The WWE Network has more than 1.6 million subscribers.
Still, there’s no question that competition is tough, even for the biggest players. While Disney Plus may pass 100 million subscribers by the end of the year, and Netflix is likely past 200 million subscribers, new entrants like HBO Max and Peacock are seeing slower growth. Part of that has to do with newfound difficulties creating content this year because of the pandemic, but there are also concerns from analysts and experts that the space, especially within the United States, is oversaturated.
In the year that every company pivoted to streaming, however, it’s no surprise that corporations like Discovery are trying to find new ways to pull in subscribers and develop recurring revenue.
Update December 2nd 12:33pm ET: The story was updated to include additional information from the event.