The Streaming Wars Have A New Contestant

Soon there will be another way to watch hyenas and lions do battle in the Serengeti.

Discovery, the owner of HGTV, Food Network, and Animal Planet, will launch its streaming service “Discovery+” on January 4th.

Back To Reality

Without the same breadth of content as its streaming brethren, Discovery+ will debut at just $4.99 per month ($6.99 for an ad-free experience).

To stand out in the increasingly crowded streaming jungle, Discovery is banking on reality television:

  • Discovery+ will build on its library of content (think Shark Week) and create new content with big-name personalities such as Chip and Joanna Gaines (Fixer Upper) and Guy Fieri (anything and everything edible).
  • The platform will be available in 25 countries by the end of next year and has rights to stream Olympics coverage to subscribers in Europe, should that ever prove relevant again.

Distribution: Discovery is taking one straight out of Disney’s playbook by partnering with Verizon to give its users free access to Discovery+ for one year. A similar arrangement with Verizon and Disney contributed roughly 20% of subscribers in the early days of Disney+.

Discovery CEO David Zaslav has called Discovery+ “the most important thing we’ll do as a company since I’ve been at Discovery.” Investors seemed to agree – shares were up 2% on the day.

But Will It Work?

Much has been written about how the streamlining landscape has become oversaturated. Quibi recently learned that the hard way.

Bad Fact Pattern: As of June, according to the TV and movie data collection site Reelgood.com, the major streaming services had nearly 1,000 reality TV shows in their catalogs.

Better Fact Pattern: Niche streaming services have managed to build loyal audiences. Crunchyroll, which caters to anime fans, has 3 million subscribers. The WWE network has more than 1.6 million subscribers.

And in theory, there is room for more players. Subscribing to Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, AppleTV, HBOMax, Peacock, and Discovery+ would cost just under $60 per month. That’s still less than half the average US monthly cable bill.

The Takeaway: Keep your eyes peeled for The Daily Upside+ launch in the near future.

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