Discovery is the latest media company to launch a standalone streaming service — and the latest to adopt the simple naming strategy of just adding a plus sign — with discovery+, set to launch in the United States on January 4, 2021.
While Discovery doesn’t have the name recognition of (say) Disney/Disney+, it’s pitching the service as “the definitive streaming service for the best real life entertainment in the world,” with 55,000 episodes at launch drawn from Discovery networks like HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. It’s also struck a deal with A&E Networks to feature content from A&E, The History Channel and Lifetime.
And of course there will be original programming, including several “90 Day Fiancé” spinoffs, the U.S. premiere of the BBC series “A Perfect Planet,” a topiary competition series (with Martha Stewart as lead judge) called “Clipped,” a Kevin Hart travel show with the working title “Route 66” and much more.
Discovery+ also has a first look deal with Magnolia Network, a joint venture with “Fixer Upper” stars Chip and Johanna Gaines. And it will feature original content from Discovery-backed digital media company Group Nine, whose brands include The Dodo, NowThis and Thrillist.
While the big U.S. launch isn’t happening until January, discovery+ actually launched in the United Kingdom and Ireland through a deal with Sky last month, and the company plans to launch across 21 markets in 2021. For European viewers, the service will be the streaming home of the Olympics, starting with next year’s event in Tokyo.
In the U.S., discovery+ will cost $4.99 per month, or $6.99 per month to go ad-free. Discovery is also announcing a partnership with Verizon to offer up to 12 months (depending on the plan) of free discovery+ access to select wireless and home internet subscribers. (Verizon owns TechCrunch.)
In a statement, Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav said:
We have been working methodically the past two years to bring all of our strategic advantages to the launch of discovery+, including distribution and advertising partnerships around the world, a world-class offering of quality brands, authentic personalities and the largest content library at launch, as well as a broad slate of exclusive programming. With discovery+, we are seizing the global opportunity to be the world’s definitive product for unscripted storytelling, providing households and mobile consumers a distinct, clear and differentiated offering across valuable and enduring lifestyle, and real life verticals.