Discovery has around 12 million paying subscribers across its online portfolio, having launched the Discovery+ standalone direct-to-consumer service in the United States and a number of European markets in January. David Zaslav, the chief executive of Discovery, said in a recent earnings announcement that the company had passed 11 million paying subscribers and was “on pace to be at 12 million” by the end of the February. That would be an increase of 7 million subscribers since Discovery reported in December.
Speaking to analysts, the Discovery chief executive said that the vast majority of this increase is attributable to Discovery+ and substantially more than half of those additions are in the United States.
Discovery+ is available in the United States as a paid service in two tiers, one of which is also supported by advertising.
Discovery rebranded its previous Dplay services in some markets to Discovery+ and he said this “off to a strong start” in the United Kingdom, where it has partnered with Sky. The company intends to partner with key distributors in many key markets.
He said: “Stay tuned for further delivery partnerships such as partnerships with cable operators and other connected TV platforms, all of which move us further along as our goal to be among the most widely available platforms to consumers everywhere on the globe with easy access to consumers in every language.”
“We’re seeing very high consumer engagement and high video starts, an incredible 93% of our entire 55,000-episode library has been watched, indicating a very healthy long tail of content that is immense value to consumers now that we’ve made it available.” He also noted that the twelve most popular shows represent less than 10% of what people are watching on the platform.
In Europe, the Eurosport offering will be brought into Discovery+, which will be offer streaming of the Tokyo Olympics, assuming the postponed event takes place, with access to every minute, live and on-demand.
Following that, the company expects to accelerate its international rollouts, with partnerships such as Vodafone.
He said that Discovery is “evolving from a pay-TV and free-to-air company into a scaling global streaming player.”
The company has said it is aiming for an addressable market of 70 million in the United States and 400 million globally.
Shares in Discovery have doubled in value so far this year, having risen in anticipation of the online strategy, which so far seems to be perceived as a success story, despite a competitive market.