Discovery, home to HGTV, Food Network, and Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week, is entering the streaming space with Discovery Plus.
Details about the streamer will be revealed at a special event this afternoon, but CNBC reports that Discovery Plus will start at $4.99 with an ad-supported tier, along with a $6.99 ad-free option. The streaming service will launch in January 2021, but it’s unclear if that’s just in the United States or also internationally. CNBC also reports that Discovery is partnering with Verizon to give the telecom company’s 55 million customers a free year of ad-free Discovery Plus. It’s the same move that Disney did with Verizon when the company launched Disney 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, Joanna and Chip Gaines) 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.
Video: Discovery set to unveil streaming service at noon ET Wednesday (CNBC)
“We have been aggressively driving additional original content … we think you need a substantial amount of original content,” Zaslav said.
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. The Verge will update this story with more details once they’re announced at the event.