Interpret: Discovery+ Fills Strong Niche

Discovery Channel’s new Discovery+ streaming service, which launched Jan. 4 in the United States, is filling a strong niche, according to Interpret research.

Available for $5 per month with a commercial-free version at $7 per month, the platform not only offers shows from Discovery Channel, with more than 55,000 episodes at launch, but also content from Discovery-owned HGTV, TLC, Food Network, Animal Planet, OWN, and more. Discovery also has partnerships with BBC, A&E, Group Nine, and others to provide additional content.

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“Discovery’s portfolio of channels offers an array of science, reality, and non-fiction programming, providing it with a unique niche of content that is differentiated from Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock, or other broadcast and cable TV network-oriented streaming services,” according to Interpret.

Interpret’s New Media Measure® found that this type of content is popular, with viewership of Discovery’s portfolio of channels ranging from 7% to 20% of pay-TV subscribers.

“Discovery is betting that those same people will happily pay $5 per month, particularly if they leave traditional pay-TV,” according to Interpret.

Discovery+ is already available in the United Kingdom and Ireland and intends to roll out to 25 international markets this year. A promotion from Verizon provides as much as one year free of Discovery+ to its wireless customers.

Discovery+ Launches in MENA Territories Via Starzplay

Discovery has formed a strategic partnership with the Starzplay SVOD service to launch its SVOD service Discovery+ across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) territories.

The deal allows Starzplay subscribers to watch Discovery+ content within a dedicated branded area across all Starzplay platforms in 18 countries and territories across MENA.

The Discovery+ service features a range of exclusive content and series across lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; science, tech and environment; and many high-quality documentaries.

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“The launch of discovery+ across MENA represents a major step toward adding 18 additional countries and territories to the global expansion of the platform, giving customers options to access the content that they love and have come to expect from Discovery,” Kasia Kieli, Discovery president and MD EMEA, said in a statement.

“The unprecedented growth of online streaming has driven the need for compelling content that provides value for subscribers,” Maaz Sheikh, CEO and co-founder of Starzplay, said in a statement. “We have built strategic partnerships to offer our subscribers more online content and varied choices We are confident that the discovery+ add on will be welcomed by the MENA audience and we look forward to growing this partnership further.”

Global Discovery+ franchises include “Shark Week,” “MythBusters,” “Gold Rush,” “Expedition Unknown,” “House Hunters International,” “90 Day Fiancé,” “NASA’s Unexplained Files” and “Say Yes to the Dress.” Subscribers also have access to Discovery+ originals, including “The Impossible Row,” “Amy Schumer Learns to Cook (Uncensored)” and “JonBenet Ramsey: What Really Happened?”

Additionally, Discovery+ will offer programs from the home of Arabic cooking, Fatafeat, along with a collection of environmental programming with access to the BBC’s natural history library, including “Planet Earth” and “Blue Planet.”

Discovery+ is available for an additional subscription price.

Discovery+ Inks Multiple Partnerships for New Streaming Service Launch

Taking a page from Verizon’s streaming pact with Disney+, Discovery, Verizon and U.K.’s Vodafone have signed separate multiplatform agreements in the United States and Europe for just-launched SVOD service Discovery+.

Verizon consumers with Play More Unlimited or Get More Unlimited plans can get 12 months of free access to Discovery+. Customers with other unlimited plans can get six months access to more than 2,500 shows and new originals from HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN, Animal Planet, Magnolia and Discovery for no additional cost.

Discovery+ launched with 55,000 episodes and more than 1,000 hours of originals in year one viewable on the following platforms: Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and iOS, Google Play, Android TV and Chromecast, Microsoft Xbox One and Series S/X devices, Roku, and 2017 and newer Samsung Smart TVs.

The service is available in the U.S. starting at $4.99 per month, with an ad-free version available for $6.99 per month. Each account will include up to five user profiles and four concurrent streams, among the most offered in the streaming video category.

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Vodafone customers in 12 European markets can continue to access Discovery’s content portfolio. The parties will also collaborate on making upstart SVOD service Discovery+ available to existing Vodafone subscriber bases across Europe.

“Vodafone’s vast and deep consumer relationships will provide a powerful engine for discovery+ as together we bring the definitive destination for real-life entertainment to consumers across Europe,” David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery, said in a statement. “Our hybrid agreement with Vodafone advances our broader strategy of expanding our linear distribution relationships to bring our popular content to consumers across more platforms and devices.”

The partnership covers  Vodafone’s TV and mobile customers in the U.K., Germany, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Romania, Portugal, Greece, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland and Iceland who will be able to watch content from Discovery’s brands, the BBC’s natural history collection, plus Eurosport’s premium sports offering, all on one streaming platform.

At launch, Discovery+ will have one of the largest content offerings of any new streaming service, featuring a wide range of global and local content, and original series across lifestyle and relationships; home and food; true crime; paranormal; adventure and natural history; as well as science, tech and the environment, and documentaries. Beginning with the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Discovery+ will become the streaming home of the Olympics in Europe.

This partnership gives Discovery access to roughly 100 million Vodafone TV, fixed broadband and mobile-subscribers across Europe to which Discovery+ can be made available for a promotional period that will vary by market. Launches will be supported by high-profile marketing campaigns including a wide array of ‘always on’ customer promotional activities on both Vodafone and Discovery-owned platforms.

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“Discovery will be a key part of our entertainment offer, providing a rich choice of content that will enhance Vodafone’s provision of a superior customer experience across its high-quality TV and flexible streaming services,” said Ahmed Essam, chief commercial operations and strategy officer for the Vodafone Group.

The rollout in 12 markets is planned during the course of 2021 and 2022. In addition, Discovery’s linear channels will continue to be available to Vodafone customers on TV in Germany, Italy, Spain, Romania, Portugal, Greece, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland and Iceland.

Discovery SVOD Service Hires Away Hulu Sales Executive Jim Keller

Discovery Communications has hired Jim Keller as VP of digital ad sales and advanced advertising for the media giant’s pending (Jan. 4, 2021) branded subscription streaming video-on-demand platform. Keller is leaving Hulu after six years with the Disney-owned SVOD as VP of national advertising sales. In addition to Discovery+, Keller will spearhead digital sales across all platforms, including VOD and TV Everywhere.

Jim Keller

Discovery, which is home to myriad reality-based episodic programming, is launching the SVOD service at $4.99 per month with ads and $6.99 monthly without.

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“Jim is one of the most experienced advanced advertising sales leaders in the business and he joins Discovery at a critical time, as we launch Discovery+ in January and begin scaling our direct-to-consumer advertising opportunities,” Jon Steinlauf, chief U.S. advertising sales officer at Discovery, said in a statement. “Our ambition is to drive both rapid growth in DTC ad sales for Discovery Plus and utilize Jim’s deep expertise to accelerate our advanced advertising and data-driven cross platform sales solutions, while growing Discovery’s high-quality audience, especially with female and family demographics.”

Prior to joining Hulu in 2014, Keller held various executive positions at NBCUniversal.

Discovery+ SVOD Service Announces Original Content Slate

Pending SVOD service Discovery+ Dec. 3 announced a slate of original series and specials that will be available during its debut next month. At launch on Jan. 4, the platform will have more than 50 original titles and over 150 hours of reality TV content. The service, which costs $4.99 monthly with ads, $6.99 without, will premiere more than 1,000 hours of original content in year one.

“Our launch slate represents an ambitious start for Discovery+,” Lisa Holme, Group SVP of content and commercial strategy,” said in a statement. “We’re even more excited to surpass expectations on streaming by mixing genres in new ways, digging even deeper in the documentary space and introducing fans to their new favorite personalities.”

Love and Relationships

  • “90 Day Bares All”: Hosted by Shaun Robinson, this companion series to “90 Day Fiancé” will put cast members in the hot seat where they reveal pivotal new information and speak completely uncensored.
  • “90 Day Diaries” showcases an intimate look into the lives of “90 Day” franchise couples, told from their perspective. Without producers or crew, the cast members film themselves in their day-to-day lives as they continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and all of the new challenges it brings to their relationships.
  • “90 Day Journey” offers a collection of “90 Day Fiancé” stories for the superfan now on-demand Each curated mini-series is made up of every single scene a couple has appeared in across each show in the 90 Day Universe. Now fans can watch each couples’ story from the very beginning how and when they want to.
  • “The Other Way Strikes Back!” allows viewers to get a fresh look at the duos that fans have come to know and love, sharing their home lives, behind-the-scenes details missed by cameras and addressing some of the most outrageous, cringe-worthy moments and sassy social media and pillow talk commentary of the second season of “The Other Way.”

 

Ashley and Jay from “90 Day Fiancé”

 

Food

  • “Amy Schumer Learns to Cook: Uncensored” offers an updated and uncensored look at the Emmy-nominated series.
  • “Bobby and Giada in Italy” Longtime friends Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis take viewers on a culinary tour of Italy. It’s the ultimate road trip across the most delicious country on earth.
  • “Cakealikes”A comedic cake off competition challenges experts to create life-size cakes that are the spitting image of famed celebrities. Hosted by Tregaye Fraser and judged by hyper realistic cake artist Natalie Sideserf, hilarious food commentator Kalen Allen, and a rotating guest judge.
  • “Chopped Challenge” brings the high drama of “Chopped” episodes into the homes of Judges Maneet Chauhan, Scott Conant, Amanda Freitag, Marc Murphy, Marcus Samuelsson and Geoffrey Zakarian as they use their culinary mastery to create delicious and inventive recipes from three rounds of mystery basket ingredients. Intercutting self-shot footage, the judges compete against the clock.
  • “Lovely Bites with Chef Lovely” invites viewers to the Lovely home and lovely world of Chef Connie “Lovely” Jackson as she prepares fabulous bites for special occasions.
  • “Tregaye’s Way in the Kitchen” Tregaye Fraser is a youthful, modern mom – and professional chef – who’s not afraid to push the boundaries of traditional cuisine… and not afraid to push her kids’ palates.

 

True Crime

  • “American Detective with Lt. Joe Kenda” Lt. Joe Kenda, one of the most experienced homicide detectives in ID history, is back exclusively on discovery+ with an all new series. Over the years, Kenda has heard about cases that defy logic – investigations so confounding that they feel more scripted in Hollywood than reality. In “American Detective,” Kenda trades in his own case files to bring viewers astounding investigations from across the country, with each episode featuring a different homicide detective whose tireless efforts helped put a killer behind bars and bring justice for the victim.
  • “Onision: In Real Life” Greg Jackson, known to the world as “Onision,” discovered YouTube when the platform was still burgeoning in the digital world. And as the power of YouTube grew, the character “Onision” grew with it. Jackson amassed millions of subscribers across multiple channels, luring in viewers with his off-kilter, opinionated and dark humor. But while his channels were twisted, his real life might be more sinister. This cutting-edge investigative series explores the mystery, controversy and alleged criminality surrounding Greg Jackson, bringing forward new research and revelations about the man that the YouTube community loves to hate.

 

Home

  • “Frozen in Time” Maureen McCormick (“The Brady Bunch”) and designer Dan Vickery overhaul homes that are stuck in a design time warp. Dan will update the structure, while Maureen sources beautiful decade-specific pieces to give the home a refreshed look and a wink to its original era.
  • “House Hunters: Comedians on Couches Unfiltered” America’s favorite past time—watching and commenting on House Hunters—will get a fun new twist in this pithy new series led by comedians Dan Levy and Natasha Leggero. The series will feature eight popular comedians as they deliver hilariously unfiltered color commentary on classic episodes of House Hunters.  The celebrity lineup includes Seth Rogen, John Mulaney,  Ali Wong, JB Smoove, Chelsea Peretti, Whitney Cummings, Margaret Cho and NBA star-turned-comic, Blake Griffin.
  • “Home Town: Ben’s Workshop” Master woodworker Ben Napier shares his expertise in craftsmanship and carpentry with celebrity guests including astronaut Scott Kelly, tennis legend Martina Navratilova, comedian Loni Love, and country singer Chris Lane. In this four-episode series, Ben’s visitors are in for a fun Southern experience – building iconic wood projects and making surprise visits to donate them to the community or a neighbor.
  • “HGTV’s House Party” This exciting new talk show features interviews with top HGTV talent, including David Bromstad, Tarek El Moussa, Jasmine Roth and Alison Victoria, among others. Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Allison Holker Boss, Derek Hough and Margaret Cho are among the many HGTV fans who stop by to join the fun. Each episode features games, DIY challenges and some good old-fashioned gossip.
  • “Tarek’s Flip Side” House-flipper Tarek El Moussa has a lot to celebrate in his personal life. In this series, the real estate and home renovation expert shares the stories behind his proposal to fiancée Heather Rae Young and candidly reveals a few wedding plans. Along the way, Tarek takes his daughter Taylor on a tour of his latest house flip. He wants to know what she thinks of the project and hopes he can inspire her to get an early start in the family business.
  • “Christina: Stronger By Design” Christina Anstead, star designer and home renovation expert, starts a fresh chapter in her life and reflects on what inspires her as she as rethinks her own home’s design, including a bedroom refresh and a beautiful tablescape for her backyard. Christina also shares her personal wellness journey, her routine for self-care and a few of her favorite go-to beauty regimens with her makeup artist and best friend Shannon. The pair, along with friend Cassie, chat about life, motherhood, friendships and new beginnings.

 

Magnolia Network Preview

  • “Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines” Infused with her warmth and passion for all things family, Joanna Gaines spends time in the kitchen sharing her favorite recipes, where they come from, and why she finds herself returning to them time and time again. New episodes will rollout weekly.
  • “Magnolia Network” A Look Ahead: Chip and Joanna give a first look at some of the stories, people and projects that inspired the couple to create a network.
  • “Road to Launch” Chip and Joanna catch up with some of the extraordinary storytellers and highlight the exciting selection of shows coming to Magnolia Network.
  • “The Courage to Run with Chip Gaines and Gabe Grunewald” In this documentary special, Chip Gaines fortuitously meets professional runner and rare cancer fighter Gabe Grunewald. Together they set out to train for a marathon, and along the way find a friendship that alters Chip’s perspective forever.
  • Premiere episodes from 10 upcoming Magnolia Network original series, including:
    • “The Lost Kitchen” In brave pursuit of following her passion, Erin French opened a restaurant in her hometown of Freedom, Maine. Travelers from all over the world gather at The Lost Kitchen to enjoy Erin’s locally-inspired and sourced menu.
    • “Family Dinner” Host Andrew Zimmern visits families across America to explore how the cultural, regional, and historical facets of who we are inform what and how we eat.
    • “The Fieldhouse” At The Fieldhouse, physical and personal challenges are tackled head-on. Owner Justin Bane and his staff change lives by restoring and rehabilitating clients from the inside out at this cutting-edge fitness facility in Abilene, Texas.
    • “First Time Fixer” First-time house flippers take their home renovation dreams into their own hands and experience the risk and reward that comes with trying something new.
    • “Home on the Road with Johnnyswim” Abner Ramirez and Amanda Sudano Ramirez of the musical duo Johnnyswim document their three-month cross-country tour, while juggling their growing family and finding new adventures in each city along the way.
    • “Restoration Road with Clint Harp” Carpenter Clint Harp hits the road in search of incredible historical structures across the country that are in need of restoration, while exploring their origins and dreaming of their futures.
    • “Super Dad” Father and DIY expert Taylor Calmus, along with his team of skilled builders, help aspiring DIY dads turn their kids’ outrageous backyard dreams into playtime realities.
    • “Point of View” A Designer Profile: Giving a behind-the-curtain look into the mind of interior designers, this anthology series lets in on their creative processes and introduces the inspirations and influences that shape their designs.
    • “Self Employed” Entrepreneur Jonathan Morris travels the country to share the inspirational stories and new challenges of small business owners and their journeys to building their dream jobs.
    • “Growing Floret” Erin and Chris Benzakien have spent the last decade building their family-run business Floret Farms in the fertile Skagit River Valley of Washington State. Now considered one of the most well-known flower farms in the world, they’ve decided to risk everything by adding and rehabilitating 24 new acres of land to expand their business.

 

Lifestyle

  • “Say Yes to the Dress: In Sickness and In Health” During the COVID epidemic, brides have had their wedding dreams crushed. The team of Randy Fenoli and Hayley Paige will stop at nothing to help these women still have their special day.
  • “Dr. Pimple Popper: This is Zit” Dr. Sandra Lee shares all the gory details behind some of her most difficult pops. Watch intimate excavation videos of blackheads so big and cysts so goopy, they have to be seen to be believed.

 

Adventure

  • “Gold Rush: Freddy Dodge’s Mine Rescue” Gold recovery expert Freddy Dodge helps struggling mine owners in this six-part series. If he can increase the owner’s weekly gold haul, he gets a cut of the profits, but if he fails… he doesn’t charge a dime.
  • “Race Across the World” How would you race across the globe… if you couldn’t fly and didn’t have a phone? In this real-world adventure series, five teams of two are racing from point A to B… without flying. Each team must travel across the globe by whatever means they can: foot, car, bicycle, boat, bus, ferry, motorbike, horse … with only the price of a flight ticket in their pocket (which will have to cover their food and accommodation), it’s set to be the ultimate globe-trotting expedition. Who will make it in the quickest time and win a big cash prize?

 

Nature, Science & Animals

  • “Mysterious Planet” Narrated by David Schwimmer (“Friends”), the series is an epic journey to the ends of the earth. Combining humor with the awe and beauty of the natural world, this special looks to unlock the greatest mysteries behind the world’s most incredible species.
  • “Six Degrees with Mike Rowe” Mike Rowe poses questions that no one has ever asked, and then, (with a little help from his old buddy Chuck), provides unforgettable answers that prove every single thing is connected.
  • “BattleBots: The Bounty Hunters” Builders from around the globe get a chance to call their shot in a series of six all-new, two-hour events. Six of the most feared Bots in the sport of robot combat.  Six one-of-a-kind bounty prizes.
  • “Elephant Hospital” Take a trip to the world’s largest hospital devoted solely to treating elephants: the Elephant Hospital in Lampang, Northern Thailand, which cares for over 100 sick, injured or neglected animals each year. With unique access to the daily challenges faced by the vets and volunteers on site, this is a heart-warming series full of uplifting, extraordinary and unexpected stories.

 

Documentaries

  • P.S., Burn This Letter Please: A box of letters, held in secret for nearly 60 years, ignites a five-year exploration into a part of LGBTQ+ history that has never been told. The letters open a window into a forgotten world where being yourself meant breaking the law and where the penalties for “masquerading” as a woman were swift and severe.
  • Restaurant Hustle 2020 All on the Line – Director’s Cut: a self-shot documentary from Executive Producer and Co-Director Guy Fieri that follows four of America’s favorite chefs – Maneet Chauhan, Antonia Lofaso, Christian Petroni and Marcus Samuelsson, as they each picked up a camera and with the help of friends and family, documented the challenges their restaurants faced as COVID-19 swept across the United States.
  • The Impossible Row Documenting adventurer Colin O’Brady and his crew’s attempt at the world’s first completely human powered ocean row across The Drake Passage, the most dangerous 600 miles of open ocean on Earth.
  • Beyond Borders More people have been to space than flown around the world in a single prop plane. And this was not lost on filmmaker Juan-Peter Schulze (JP) and influencer / travel vlogger Louis Cole as they set off on a dangerous mission to circumnavigate the world in a single-engine, 1974 Cessna T210L airplane named Baloo. This adventure wasn’t just to see if it was possible, but to experience the many cultures and societies that make up our beautiful planet. The trip was emotionally and physically draining, pushing them to their limits and forcing the pair to face situations which, if handled badly, could have had dire consequences. From losing critical equipment over oceans, past the point of no return, to confronting fighter jets at ten thousand feet on the other side of the world. This is Beyond Borders.
  • Judi Dench’s Wild Borneo Adventure Dame Judi Dench and conservationist David Mils are setting out on a trip of a lifetime to uncover the lush rainforests, magical wildlife and spectacular coastlines of Malaysian Borneo in this two-part series.
  • JonBenet Ramsey: What Really Happened? This feature-length documentary exploring the JonBenet Ramsey case, one of America’s most notorious and captivating unsolved murder mysteries, showcases the exclusive and previously unheard audio diaries of legendary detective Lou Smit, who worked on 200 murder cases and was brought out of retirement in Denver to work on this homicide. Police immediately suspected her parents John and Patsy Ramsey of the murder, but after reviewing the evidence, Lou thought otherwise and he recorded it all.
  • Extreme Everest An adrenaline-fueled adventure to the world’s highest peak. Ant Middleton isn’t afraid to take on a challenge. But there’s one dangerous mission he’s not yet carried out … to scale the most famous, unforgiving and tallest mountain in the world, Everest.

 

Automotive

  • “Monster Garage” Jesse James team gets seven days to complete a project. If they succeed, they each walk away with $5K. If they don’t, Jesse’s free to destroy the monster – by blowing it up.
  • “Auto Biography” A premium documentary strand that tells the most surprising and phenomenal stories about iconic cars and legendary drivers that have changed the motoring world  and continue to do so today.

 

Paranormal & The Unexplained

  • “Amityville Horror House” Exclusive archive reveals frightening, new secrets from George and Kathy Lutz’s brief stay in one of America’s most wonderous haunts.
  • “Ghost Adventures: Cecil Hotel” The Ghost Adventures team investigates a LA hotel with a long history of unnatural deaths and dark forces have been looming over the hotel for over a century.
  • “Ghost Adventures: Top 10” Zak, Aaron, Billy and Jay present the best evidence of the paranormal, the existence of these varied phenomena and the many ways the afterlife manifests.

 

Launching Jan. 21, 2021

Paranormal & The Unexplained

  • “UFO Witness” Decades ago, the United States Air Force commissioned Project Blue Book, a top-secret investigation to review every UFO sighting on record. Now, one of the original scientists who worked on the project, Dr. Jennie Zeidman, has agreed to open up her archives to be reexamined by the next generations of UFO investigators.

 

Launching Jan. 21, 2021

Fascinating Families & Extraordinary Lifestyles

  • “Toddler’s & Tiaras: Where Are They Now?” It’s been over 10 years since the brand-building hit first premiered, and this series catches up with some of our favorite toddler beauty queens — now young women.

Discovery Latest Media Company to Bow ‘Plus’ Subscription Streaming Video Service

Media giant Discovery is set to launch a branded SVOD platform called Discovery+ on Jan. 4, 2021. The platform will bow with a $4.99 monthly ad-supported option, and $6.99 per month ad-free plan. Discovery brands include HGTV and Food Network, Eurosport, in addition to the Discovery Channel.

Similar to Disney+, Discovery+ will be rolled out with a 12-month cross-promotion involving Verizon’s 55 million subscribers. The launch next month competes with a planned first-quarter rollout of ViacomCBS’s Paramount+ in the rapidly crowding SVOD ecosystem.

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The Verizon promotion has been key to Disney+ acquiring more than 73 million subscribers since launching last year. NBCUniversal’s Peacock has more than 22 million subs, while WarnerMedia reported 38 million combined HBO and HBO Max subs. Market leader and pioneer Netflix has more than 61 million North American subs; 195 million worldwide.

In the United States, Discovery+ will offer more than 55,000 episodes, with over 2,500 current and classic shows from Discovery’s portfolio of networks, including HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. Viewers in the U.S. will also gain access to new series from franchises and personalities such as Chip and Joanna Gaines; Will Packer and Kevin Hart; 90 Day Fiancé; Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis; Duff Goldman; Amy Schumer; Carla Hall; David Schwimmer; Sir David Attenborough; Ben Napier; Sebastian Maniscalco; Joe Kenda; and Mike Rowe, among others.

“We believe Discovery+ is the perfect complement to every streaming portfolio, and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with Verizon to bring this incredible content to their customer base,” CEO David Zaslav said in a statement.

As part of a new content partnership, Discovery+ will bring together for the first time the top non-fiction content from A&E, The History Channel and Lifetime with the Discovery brand portfolio. More than 1,500 episodes of reality TV content from A&E networks on discovery+ will include “The First 48,” “Bring It,” “Dance Moms,” “Ice Road Truckers,” “Pawn Stars,” “Ancient Aliens,” “Storage Wars,” “60 Days In,” “Intervention” and “Ghost Hunters.”

 

Discovery CEO Disputes T-Mobile’s Online TV Service Distribution

David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery, Nov. 5 reiterated his concern about T-Mobile’s recently launched online TV platform, TVision, and its distribution of Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV and TLC. The entry-level service offers 30 channels, including AMC Networks, Animal Planet; BBC America; BBC World News; BET; BET Her; CMT, and Comedy Central, among others.

Speaking on a fiscal call, Zaslav questioned why TVision, which launched in late October offering online TV subscription packages priced from $10 to $60 monthly, only carries the Discovery platforms on the lowest-priced option, TVision Vibe.

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“We were very surprised with how T-Mobile decided that they were going to bundle our networks, particularly because we have a clear agreement where our networks are required to be carried on all their … OTT offerings,” Zaslav said.

Discovery, like all pay-TV channels, is looking to expand distribution as the linear TV business model contracts and consumers migrate to less-expensive over-the-top video content. The company is set to launch its own branded SVOD platform, Discovery+, some time next year — and likely priced higher than $10 a month.

“So let’s just characterize it this way: We’re in active discussion with them to quickly resolve that issue,” Zaslav said. “We don’t believe they have the right to do what they’re doing right now. And they know. It’s very clear to them and they’re focused on it.”

 

WWE Partners with Discovery to Stream Pro Wrestling in Italy

WWE and Discovery June 24 announced a new multiyear agreement in Italy beginning July 1 that will make WWE’s weekly flagship programming available exclusively live and on-demand with original U.S. commentary on DPlay Plus, Discovery’s SVOD platform, along with versions featuring Italian commentary on DMAX (Channel 52).

Every week, Dplay Plus will air “Monday Night Raw” and “Friday Night SmackDown” live. NXT will be available on-demand via Dplay Plus every Thursday morning.

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WWE fans can also watch with Italian commentary by Luca Franchini and Michele Posa on Discovery’s free-to-air channel, DMAX. A two-hour version of Raw will premiere on Mondays starting July 13; SmackDown will air on Tuesdays and re-run on Sundays; NXT will air on Saturdays and re-run on Sundays.

“We are thrilled to embark on a new chapter for WWE in Italy as we bring our unique blend of action-packed, family-friendly sports entertainment to Discovery’s free-to-air and premium channels,” Stefan Kastenmüller, SVP, GM, WWE, said in a statement. “We are excited that our relationship with Discovery is enhancing the fan experience in Italy with both primetime and family-friendly timeslots.”

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Alessandro Araimo, managing director of Discovery Italy, said WWE has “conquered a very wide audience” and “we are confident that our channels and platforms can help to further expand the very large Italian fanbase.”

Raw, SmackDown and NXT with Italian commentary will also be available on-demand via Dplay. WWE’s two weekly recap series, “Bottom Line” and “Afterburn,” will be available with original commentary from Dplay Plus.

The agreement with WWE will make the Dplay Plus premium content offer even more exclusive with the platform subscription price unchanged at 3.99 euros ($4.50) per month.

WWE’s monthly pay-per-view events, including WrestleMania and SummerSlam, will stream exclusively on WWE Network in Italy.

Discovery, StarzPlay Partner for SVOD Distribution

Discovery and StarzPlay March 16 announced a partnership that will see the former’s Dplay streaming video service available across the Middle East and Asia (MENA) on StarzPlay, Starz’s international SVOD based in Dubai with more than 1 million subscribers.

The agreement affords StarzPlay subs access to thousands of hours of content, segregated into playlists dedicated to specially curated interest verticals — including crime, lifestyle, food, wildlife and more. New content will be added to the platform each month.

Discovery TV franchises include “Shark Week,” “MythBusters,” “Gold Rush,” “Expedition Unknown,” “House Hunters International” and “Say Yes to the Dress,” among others.

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“This is the first time Discovery is taking its content beyond the pay-TV universe in the region and opening it up to a whole new customer base,” Amanda Turnbull, GM, Discovery Middle East & Africa, said in a statement. “As we commence our pivot toward digital, this milestone sets the benchmark for Discovery’s continued growth in the digital space.”

Following a free trial period of up to one-month (varies across the region), monthly subscription to the content costs AED/SAR15 ($4) per month as an add-on package.

“With this partnership we are starting a new chapter in company’s growth to become the one-stop shop for premium content,” said Danny Bates, chief commercial officer of StarzPlay.”

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Dplay will be available in Q2 2020, through existing StarzPlay apps, including Apple TV. StarzPlay is available to download online and via respective iOS and Android app stores.

 

Discovery Latest Media Company to Nix Upfront TV Shows Presentation

Discovery has become the latest media company cancel its live Upfront presentation in New York. The move followed similar decisions by NBC, CBS, Fox, Disney, The CW and WarnerMedia Entertainment to nix showcasing new TV shows in an effort to thwart staff exposure and possible spread of the coronavirus.

Discovery said its decision was made out of an abundance of caution and care for the health and safety of employees, talent and business partners. Discovery said it has prepared an alternative “digital experience” to showcase the company, portfolio, and advanced advertising products to its clients and agency partners, with details to be announced at a later date.

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“The decision to cancel is bittersweet but unequivocally the right one,” Jon Steinlauf, Discovery’s chief U.S. ad sales officer, said in a statement. “We have a terrific story to tell and more opportunities and products than ever for current and prospective advertisers. We will just tell that story in a way that best suits these unprecedented times.”

Discovery’s content portfolio includes Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, MotorTrend, Animal Planet, Science Channel, and the forthcoming multi-platform joint venture with Chip and Joanna Gaines, Magnolia, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport.

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