discovery+ accounted for 19% share of US SVOD signups in January according to new data released by ANTENNA, a subscription insights provider. That put discovery+ at the top of the SVOD market, ahead of HBO Max (14%), Disney+ (13%) and Hulu and CBS All Access (each with 11%).
discovery+ launched on January 4th in the U.S. and recently estimated it would have 12 million paying subscribers at the end of February, including 7 million paying in the U.S. discovery+ made a content-rich debut with 55K TV episodes, more than are available on Netflix, Disney+, Peacock and HBO Max. discovery+ also plans to add 1,000 hours of original content this year.
HBO Max had led in signup share each month since August, with the exception of November when it was edged out by Hulu. Overall the number of SVOD signups grew by 2% from December ’20 to January ’21, bolstered by the discovery+ launch.
ANTENNA said that the majority of discovery+ signups came through third-party distributors like Apple, Amazon and Roku (the data does not include signups that happened via discovery+’s promotional deal with Verizon). Over half of discovery+ signups were for the ad-free tier which costs $6.99 per month. By comparison back in July 2020, ANTENNA said that less than a quarter of Peacock signups were for its ad-free tier (however note that was before “The Office” came to Peacock which has likely changed subscriber behavior). In line with this, back in 2019, Hulu said the majority of its subscribers chose its ad-supported tier.
A separate report estimated that the top SVOD services’ marketing expenditures soared in the December-February period, with $910 million in total estimated paid advertising and media value, up 47% from $617 million in the three month period September-November, 2020. In the most recent period discovery+ spent $15.6 million, far less than Disney+ which led with nearly $73 million.