The launch of Discover + and it's impact on the streaming market

by Steve Nason | Jan. 5, 2021

Discovery+ fits in as a fairly large SVOD with its deep and broad catalog. It will act as a very strong complementary to one of the foundational services in OTT (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu). Their target audience is those who are interested in non-fiction and documentary content, reality-based/unscripted series and lifestyle programming such as food, home improvement, and travel.

Any service such as Discovery+ that employs a “house of brands” approach to its offering such as Disney+, HBO Max, and Paramount+ has to educate video consumers on what content will be comprised under that one roof. Disney has probably had an easier time with this because of not only the strength and clarity of its core brand (Disney) but the brand loyalty with its other brands. As we have seen, HBO Max has struggled with this a lot not only as it tries to explain what else the service has besides HBO but also in separating that offering from its other HBO-related OTT brands. Paramount+ will face similar issues as it launches this year in terms of defining what is under the Paramount brand, what other brands it will comprise, and how it is different from its existing service, CBS All Access. Discovery+, based on what I have seen, has already launched a pretty heavy marketing campaign to try to explain all of its brands that will be under the Discovery+ umbrella including those from A&E Networks that are part of their content partnership including A&E and History.

With the launch of HBO max, Discovery+ will take a clear and concise marketing campaign and message to explain the brands and more importantly the programs and personalities that will part of the new service. Discovery+ can learn from this as HBO Max had to deal with the additional confusion surrounding the differences between Max, HBO Now (now HBO) and the sunsetted TE app HBO Go. Discovery does not have to contend with that issue though it will have to educate those who know the Discovery brand that it also includes brands and properties it acquired in its purchase of Scripps Network such as HGTV and Food Network plus the A&E family of brands.

Discovery is not relying exclusively on one title or one series but more on the depth and breadth of series and programs they offer. They launched with over 55K episodes across multiple series and franchises and are launching several Discovery+ originals that build on some of their most successful ones such as Fixer Upper and 90 Day Fiancé as an example. But the personalities behind those franchises are what they are promoting in their initial marketing campaigns and those personalities will carry the service forward.

There is certainly plenty of competition in the content categories that Discovery focuses on. On the non-fiction/documentary side, you have services such as CuriosityStream and several from PBS plus all of the major services have ventured into non fiction/doc/reality space. Netflix for example made a major leap forward in reality TV in 2020 and will continue to do so based off the success of Tiger King and other titles. On the lifestyle side, there are many mostly mid to small size services that focus on lifestyle content such as food, travel and other topics. But, I think the unique selling point of Discovery+ is the depth and breadth of content in those categories across a variety of brands under one roof. Few if any can rival their content offering in that respect.

The outlook for Discovery+ is that it will be a very strong complementary service in the SVOD space. It will be a compelling buy (especially at a relatively low price point) for those already familiar with Discovery and its brands and will also convert many who are subscribing to other reality/nonfiction/lifestyle OTT services or is interested in that content. Discovery+ adds another very interesting piece into the next phase of the“streaming wars” as consumers decide which services to keep and which to shed as they try to align their finances with their content needs.


Tags: broadband, OTT, pay TV

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