Vodafone Subs Get Free Six-Month Access to Discovery+ Streaming Service in Time For Tokyo Olympics

Ahead of the start of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics on July 23, Vodafone on July 6 announced that it is offering six months’ free access to the Discovery+ subscription streaming service to its 17.5 million U.K. telecom subs on up to four devices.

At the end of the promotional period, subscribers will have the option to continue their subscription for £4.99 per month or cancel the service without any charge.

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Discovery+ launched in the U.S. in January, and is the streaming home of Eurosport, which has European multimedia rights to the Olympics. Parent Discovery recently acquired operational control of WarnerMedia, including HBO Max.

Vodafone subs will have access to 55 live event feeds and 3,500 hours of coverage, as well as 2,000 hours of on-demand action.

Olympic Games streaming hosts include Greg Rutherford MBE, Tour de France winner Sir Bradley Wiggins and Joanna Rowsell MBE, who will be joined by Orla Chennaoui, Reshmin Chowdhury and Radzi Chinyanganya.

In addition to the Games, Vodafone subs can access a variety of Discovery content, including “90 Day Fiancé,” “Aussie Gold Hunters,” “Gold Rush,” “Deadliest Catch,” “Ghost Adventures,” “Chris Watts: A Faking It Special,” “Michael Jackson: A Faking It Special,” “Meghan & Harry Recollections May Vary” and “The Devil Made Me Do It,” among others.

“The British summer of sport is going from strength to strength,” Max Taylor, consumer director, Vodafone U.K., said in a statement. “There’s also a wide range of content outside of sport that customers can enjoy, including documentaries and boxsets.”

Subscribers who want to redeem the offer can do so via the My Vodafone app) or through Vodafone’s dedicated Discovery+ landing page.

TiVo Extends License Deals With Vodafone, Sharp Corp.

TiVo continues to expand its digital content distribution, search functionality and other home entertainment technology with separate license software renewals with South Korea’s Sharp Corp. and U.K.’s Vodafone. Sharp will utilize TiVo’s G-Guide products, including G-Guide HTML, G-Guide xD and remote schedule recording service across compatible television and Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc recorder products in the Japanese market, including the latest AQUOS 8K UHD series televisions.

Vodafone, with more than 300 million mobile customers, 27 million fixed broadband subs and more than 22 million TV customers, will have greater access to a range of TiVo products, including content discovery, voice-activated functionality and data analytics. The new agreement also provides access to TiVo’s myriad patented innovations.

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TiVo’s software touch practically every aspect of consumers’ day-to-day interaction with their home entertainment, enabling consumer electronics clients to build customized, next-generation digital entertainment solutions for users around the globe.

“This expanded agreement with Vodafone reinforces the value that TiVo’s innovative technology portfolio brings to the telecommunications industry,” Matt Milne, chief revenue officer at TiVo parent Xperi, said in a statement. “With this extension of TiVo’s services, Vodafone is maintaining its service offerings and keeping audiences engaged in the hugely competitive entertainment landscape.”

Milne said “Today’s renewal with Sharp Corporation underlines TiVo’s commitment to the Japanese market, where G-Guide continues to be the leading entertainment discovery solution.

“Our continuous dedication to innovation allows companies like Sharp to stay ahead, and viewers to find, watch and enjoy the entertainment they love.”

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.

Netflix Expanding Global Mobile Strategy

Netflix is set launch mobile access in Spain next week as part of an existing deal with Telefónica, the Madrid-based multinational telecom. The SVOD pioneer and Telefónica rolled out a similar promotion in Brazil affording subscribers direct access to content.

The strategy is aimed at growing Netflix’s global subscriber count targeting the service’s least-used distribution channel: mobile. Indeed, 70% of Netflix programming is streamed through the television – a percentage that undermines the service’s attempt to create a larger global subscriber footprint in regions with heavy mobile platform use such as India.

In June, Netflix inked a deal with Vodafone affording the telecom’s Indian postpaid subs one year of free Netflix access. That promotion is aimed at telecom rival Airtel’s pact with Amazon Prime Video.

Netflix, which has similar Vodafone agreements in New Zealand and Australia, is currently offering one-year of free service to T-Mobile subscribers in the United States.

The promotions are part of a concerted effort to raise mobile streaming of Netflix content. In 2016 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Netflix revealed 50% of its users accessed the service on their smartphone, yet only 10% actually streamed content.

“Behavior on mobile is different,” Scott Meyer, VP of Netflix’s device partner ecosystem, said at the time. “We’re just starting to learn about this.”

Flash forward two years and Netflix thinks subs are apparently willing to stream full-length feature films – not just TV shows – on their smartphone, according CCO Ted Sarandos.

Speaking Dec. 6 at Variety’s Dealmaker’s confab, Sarandos touted Netflix’s original feature film Roma as content subscribers would willingly access on their phone.

When questioned about the likelihood someone would actually stream director Alfonso Cuaron’s two-plus hour, black-and-white semi-autobiographical movie on a phone, Sarandos said his 22-year-old son, a film school student, does just that.

“He’s only seen Laurence of Arabia on his phone,” said Sarandos. “He thinks it’s one of the great movies of all time.”

Netflix screened Roma in select theaters exclusively to appease industry awards such as the Golden Globes and Oscars, but Sarandos is well-known for challenging the industry’s 90-day theatrical window, claiming more people would watch movies if offered concurrently via streaming channels.

“Most people see most movies that change their lives at home,” said Sarandos.

Netflix Partners with Indian ISP Hathway

Since launching its pioneering subscription streaming video service globally two years ago, Netflix has reportedly struggled to gain traction in India – the world’s second largest country by population (1.28 billion).

As a result, the SVOD behemoth Sept. 4 announced a pact with Hathway that enables the Indian’s ISP subscribers direct access to Netflix on their pending ($42) set-top box. Hathway subs will also be able to pay for Netflix on their monthly Internet data bill.

The deal mirrors similar agreements between Netflix and Indian telecoms, including most-recently Airtel and Vodafone.

“In this smart and digital era, customers are looking at leading Internet entertainment services like Netflix to access high quality, well-produced entertainment,” Rajan Gupta, managing director at Hathway, said in a statement.

Tony Zameczkowski, VP, business development, Netflix Asia, said the agreement would allow Hathway’s subs to use the Netflix button on their remote controls to access content.

“We’re very excited to partner with Hathway to bring the latest technologies and great stories under one roof,” he said.

 

Netflix Partners with Vodafone for New Aussie Streaming Service

Netflix has partnered with Vodafone to help the British telecom launch its first subscription streaming video service in Australia.

Dubbed Vodafone TV, the service bows June 30 and features 12 months of pre-paid access to Netflix. The Android TV-powered platform enables subscribers online access for an additional $5 (Australian) per month over 24-months.

“The pre-paid 12-month subscription can be applied to new and existing Netflix accounts … for our [telecom] customers,” GM Matthew Lobb said in a statement.

Ben McIntosh, consumer business unit director, said the agreement with Netflix helps jumpstart Vodafone’s broadband business down under.

Vodafone TV has access to apps and games through Google Play. Other features include 4K compatible HD resolution, Google voice-search, free-to-air TV tuner and dual-band Wi-Fi.

“We’re not going to maintain the status quo by buying up content rights and building walls around it,” he said. “We don’t think it’s fair that Australians are being locked out of access to content they want to watch. Australians want fast and reliable broadband, with the freedom to watch the content they love when they want.”