Discovery prepares for the launch of its own streaming platform called Discovery+ where users can watch brand programming without having a traditional broadcast subscription. The new direct-to-consumer streaming service will launch in early 2021 and includes an ad-free and ad-supported version. The ad-supported version includes five minutes of advertising for every hour of programming. Each of Discvoery’s channels, including TLC and Food Network, will be a part of the new streaming service, which is predicted to be streamlined on one app, rather than the multiple separate channel apps Discovery currently operates. As the latest legacy TV network to launch a streaming service, Discovery+ will have to differentiate its offerings in order to attract the ever growing crowd of “cord cutters”.
While Netflix and Amazon Prime appeal to general audiences with their plethora of original and syndicated programming, Discovery+ could differentiate itself by engaging more niche viewers. With its science-related documentaries, cooking competitions, and lifestyle shows, Discovery could help position its content as an extra but necessary service, or one that could be watched in conjunction with another streaming service. Discovery+ will launch on the heels of HBO Max and Peacock’s roll outs, both of which also appealed to broadcast-turned-streaming subscribers to build up viewership. By turning to streaming, Discovery+ could reach a younger audience according to a Gartner report, particularly with its library of reality shows which are most frequently watched by females in their twenties and thirties. TV viewers aged 18-34 are also three times more likely to watch videos and shows on their smartphones than on traditional TV, which could further help Discovery+ engage a younger audience.
As at-home streaming reaches record levels during the Coronavirus pandemic, Discovery+’s market entry gives it the opportunity to appeal to at-home streamers. Though the brand could face steep competition, its loyal following and specialized shows could help it quickly build a dedicated audience.