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  • Perspective What's this? discovery+ Makes a Content-Rich Debut

    Discovery Inc.’s new direct-to-consumer streaming service discovery+ stacks up well against category leaders by virtue of a deep on-demand content reservoir yielding more than 55,000 individual titles.

    That count is based on an audit of the discovery+ content offering that compares the new streaming powerhouse with other entrants in the category, and with TV Everywhere and video on demand offerings from affiliated pay television providers. The audit is part of the STREAMTRAK® industry data series from One Touch Intelligence.

    In terms of pure volume, discovery+’s tally amounts to more discrete TV episode selections than are offered by several prominent SVOD services, including Disney+, NBCU’s Peacock, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, and even the reigning category king, Netflix. If one of the mandates for modern-day streaming success is a deep pool of titles, discovery+ has worked its way into the big leagues from day one.

    Looking deeper, we see discovery+ drawing mainly from Discovery’s own stable of branded television channels, with Food Network, HGTV, Discovery Channel and TLC accounting in the aggregate for more than half of the total. The $4.99/mo service ($6.99 without commercials) also sprinkles in an assortment of titles from outside licensors, including A+E Networks and BBC Studios.

    The volume depth for discovery+ is important given a prevailing thesis in the streaming video world: that depth can keep churn levels at bay. “The customer acquisition game is an originals game,” AT&T’s CEO John Stankey recently pointed out in comments about HBO Max to investment analysts. “The customer retention game…is a library game.”

    Hewing to Stankey’s first point, Discovery has lit up the servers with a substantive slate of original titles. As of its Jan. 4 launch, we counted more than 300 original programming hours, indicating discovery+ is on the way toward fulfilling its pledge to offer close to 1,000 hours of original content in its first year of operation.

    But another programming gambit also intrigues. By building a handful of 24/7 streaming channels around some of its tentpole series, discovery+ hopes to attract and preserve enthusiasts who have embraced popular series like TLC’s “90 Day Fiancé” and Food Network’s “Chopped.”

    It’s a technique that’s gaining traction. AVODs Tubi, Xumo and Pluto TV also offer curated linear channels. So does Peacock, which has earned some early critical praise for its bank of lean-back channels, including one that’s decorated wall-to-wall with “SNL” clips and moments. The idea traces back at least to 2016, when the Crackle ad-supported video service then owned by Sony Pictures Television surrounded a library of on-demand titles with an always-on, pre-programmed feed. Now, discovery+ is taking the approach to a new level of prominence by devoting channels to some of the company’s signature series, including the HGTV hits “House Hunters,” and “Fixer Upper.”

    From an overarching perspective, the combination of a deep pool of on-demand titles, early traction on an original production commitment, and the move to build linear channels around popular series gives discovery+ a well-rounded sensibility. These attributes, coupled with Discovery’s estimable brand luster, could present a high entry barrier for any aspiring rival to try to match.

    Download a complimentary copy of the STREAMTRAK® report here.

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