One of the most highly anticipated entrants to the OTT direct-to-consumer streaming world made it official on Wednesday. In a streaming presentation reminiscent of its traditional Upfront style, Discovery, Inc. announced that discovery+ will officially launch in the U.S. on January 4, 2021. Two versions of the service will be available to consumers in the U.S.: an ad-free version at $6.99/month and an “ad lite” version that will include five minutes of ads per hour at $4.99/month. The service will roll out to more than 25 countries over the next year offering a variety of subscription options depending on the circumstances of each market, but all in the range of the U.S. model.
Lowe’s, Pepsi, Toyota, Boston Beer and Kraft have signed on to be launch sponsors. Advertisers on the ad-supported service will be able to tap into advanced addressable, data-driven targeting via Discovery’s “One-Graph” technology to reach specific audiences in contextual relevant environments. Discovery anticipates that this one-to-one targeting on discovery+ has the potential to generate 3x+ the CPM of traditional linear television ads.
discovery+ will feature an enormous library of content, including access to past and present content from the complete libraries of Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN and Animal Planet. Content will also be sourced from A&E, The HISTORY Channel, Lifetime, BBC, Magnolia Network and Group Nine (Thrillist, PopSugar, Seeker, The Dodo, NowThis). The service will launch with over 55,000 episodes across more than 2,500 shows.
Content plans for the service include the introduction of original content every week of the year. “Over the past two years, we have been quietly and aggressively producing and acquiring content for discovery+,” said President and CEO of Discovery, Inc. David Zaslav. Impressively, the direct to consumer streaming network will launch with 50 original shows, the largest collection of new original content with which any streaming service has launched to date.
Several new shows from beloved Discovery talent, such as Chip and Joanna Gaines who will launch a new show titled, Magnolia Table, as well as a reboot of their hit show Fixer Upper. Food Network stars Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis team up to tour and cook across Italy in Bobby and Giada in Italy.
A cornerstone show for the service will be 90 Day Journey, a spin-off series to the fan favorite show, 90 Day Fiancé. According to Discovery’s Chief Lifestyles Brands Officer Kathleen Finch, 90 Day Fiancé is the “mother of all unscripted series globally. It is seen in 170 countries in 40 languages and over 67 billion minutes of the show has been consumed to date.” 90 Day Journey will exploit the platform’s interactive capabilities and give consumers the ability to custom pick the couple that they want to follow through the show.
Other notable originals include Sir David Attenborough’s The Mating Game and Perfect Planet, Foodways with Carla Hall, a strangely compelling team up of baker Duff Goldman with puppets from The Jim Henson Company in Duff’s Happy Fun Bake Time and Route 66 starring Kevin Hart by Girls Tripproducer Will Packer.
Billed as an unscripted male version of Girls Trip, Route 66will find Hart travelling across the country on this famous road with some friends, meeting people along the way to see ‘what's up’. The show is meant to be a lot of fun and have a lot of heart. “The fun is the easy part,” says Hart. “You’ll have a real POV. I want to touch the ground and see what my people are doing. We are going to mix Main Street with Martin Luther King Boulevard.”
In Europe, beginning with the Olympic Games in Tokyo, discovery+ will become the Home of the Olympics with access to every minute and every medal live and on-demand.
There are a few fundamentals to Discovery, Inc. content that gives them an advantage in the OTT space. Most importantly, they have ownership of all their IP so there are no rights issues to bog them down in legal or business negotiations, with the exception of the sports content that they will be including, primarily in Europe. Second, the majority of content produced by Discovery is evergreen with a shelf life that far outlasts many other content producers whose content over time loses relevance or doesn’t age well. Lastly, Discovery’s original content and the shows they acquired with Scripps are some of the highest utility series on television. Shows on cooking or home improvement are perfectly suited to interactive environments where consumers can use them not only as enjoyable entertainment, but productivity and educational tools.
Discovery, Inc. expects discovery+ to be distributed across all devices and all platforms. They announced a large partnership with Verizon that appears to be very much like the successful partnership that Disney+ launched with the telco last summer. A one-year subscription to the service will be offered both as an incentive to new Verizon customers; as well as existing customers that subscribe to certain Verizon Wireless or FIOS tiers. Six months free access to discovery+ will be offered to current Verizon customers at lower tiers.
While discovery+ is launching into an ever-crowded subscription OTT space, as the only player solely focused on unscripted, quality content the service does stand apart. The cost for content ratio is compelling and may even be a catalyst to drive Discovery’s fiercely loyal female viewer into a cord-cutting mind-set. As the new year begins, consumers will discover that television continues its evolution.
Photos courtesy of Discovery.
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