Discovery, ProSiebenSat.1 Launching Online TV Service in Germany

U.S. media giant Discovery and German pay-TV operator ProSiebenSat.1 are launching in June an online TV service in Germany dubbed “Joyn.”

The service — similar to Sling TV, DirecTV Now, etc. in the United States — replaces 7TV and will feature about 50 channels streaming content seven days ahead of pay-TV and available on VOD for 30 days.

With a goal of 10 million subscribers, “Joyn” will feature original content as well as movie services Maxdome and Eurosport Player. It will be accessible on TVs, smartphones, tablets and the Internet.

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Netflix currently has about 2.6 million German subs, while Amazon Prime Video has about 3.3 million.

“We are aiming to transform the German video entertainment market,” Alexandar Vassilev, managing director of Joyn, said in a statement.“Our focus is exclusively on the needs of our audiences and we commit to actively listen and reflect their feedback as we make our platform a success.”

For Discovery, the move represents another step integrating internal brands in Europe through over-the-top video distribution.

The parent to HGTV, Food Network and DIY Network, among others, earlier this year bowed Home & Garden TV in Germany, including a series of localized reality TV shows centered around home improvement.

 

 

 

Gravitas Ventures Launches Indie Film SVOD Service

Gravitas Ventures has bowed a subscription-based over-the-top video service – dubbed GravitasMovies.com – offering its branded slate of indie films for $4.99 a month.

The service aims to fill the void left by WarnerMedia’s shuttered FilmStruck platform, in addition to competing services such as Fandor.com, Shout! Factory TV, Shudder, Tribeca Shortlist and Le Cinema Club, among other services catering to fans of eclectic content.

GravitasMovies.com launched with about 1,000 titles available on Comcast Cable’s Xfinity X1, Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, among other Android and iOS devices.

“At Gravitas we have always taken pride in being a distributor that can connect the artist and the consumer,” Michael Murphy, president of the 13-year-old distributor, said in a statement. “By launching our SVOD service, we are taking the next step in bringing our vast young library of films to a global audience.”

Gravitas was acquired in 2017 by Red Arrow Studios – a unit of Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 Media.

“Given the volume, diversity of programming, and refresh rate, we have one of the best value propositions in the marketplace today for fans of independent films and documentaries and plan to keep the offering fresh and new for years to come,” said Murphy.

 

Discovery Channel Looking to Bow Netflix/Amazon Prime Video Competitor in Germany

With Netflix and Amazon Prime Video carving up much of the burgeoning over-the-top video ecosystem globally among themselves, Discovery Inc. June 25 announced it is partnering with German pay-TV service ProSiebenSat.1 to launch a branded online service in the country.

Despite being Europe’s No. 1 economy, Germany (and France) has been slow to adopt OTT video, including subscription VOD. That trend is changing. SVOD revenue in Germany is projected to reach $664 million this year; $763 million by 2022 – with user penetration topping 12%.

Discovery (whose properties include Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, Turbo/Velocity, Animal Planet, and Science Channel, as well as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network in the U.S., Discovery Kids in Latin America, and Eurosport)and ProSieben say their OTT service (launching in 2019) will be “pioneering,” offering ad-supported and SVOD platforms featuring local and Hollywood content – and live sports.

With a goal of 10 million subscribers in the first two years, the service will employ 200 people and hopes to include major German TV broadcasters RTL, ARD and ZDF as well.

“This is an exciting next step in our strategy of reaching more viewers on more screens as the global leader in real life entertainment and international sports,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav said in a statement. “Together with ProSiebenSat.1, we are building a world class streaming service to nourish super fans in one of our most important international markets, while also creating a new model for the future for viewers to enjoy their favorite content.”

Since 2017, ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery have offered joint content via online platform 7TV, both as live streams and through extensive media libraries.

Also included in the new service will be Maxdome (founded in 2006), one of the largest on-demand video stores in Germany with more than 50,000 titles. The platform offers a wide variety of feature films, series, comedy shows, sports, music and cartoons – with exclusive titles and series such as the latest season of “Grey’s Anatomy,” and moviesStar Trek – Into Darkness and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation, among others. 

“All our efforts are focused on understanding what viewers want and building the best, most user-friendly product for German audiences,” said Alexandar Vassilev, CEO of 7TV.“We have a fast-growing team with experts from around the world and can’t wait to show our platform and services in the first half 2019.”

Discovery’s move into SVOD in Germany comes as Sony Pictures Television is entering the Dutch OTT video market for the first time.

The studio is launching Film1, a SVOD service featuring 300 movies, including Blade Runner 2049Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Baby Driver, among others.

“We take pride in securing the latest and best film content for our Dutch audience, and this new direct to your screen service complements our partnerships with pay-TV operators and delivers a new way for people to access our top-quality content,” Kate Marsh, EVP, Western Europe, International Networks at Sony Pictures Television, said in a statement.