If you try to be something for everybody you run the risk of being nothing to anybody. This is something that happens to services and publications all the time. But services and publications that concentrate on niches put themselves in a place to take off. Would it make sense for Lowes to sell wood-fired pizza on-site? No. But technically it could. Discovery understands this and the numbers prove it.
When Discovery+ launched many observers lumped it in with the numerous services that have launched over the past 12 months. But unlike Quibi, HBO Max, Paramount+ and Peacock, Discovery+ did not launch trying to provide content for little kids, teenagers, adults, men, women, older adults, etc. That is unless they all happen to like reality-based TV and documentary-style content. Because that is what Discovery+ delivers better than any service in the industry. The service is built on the back of the Discovery Network channels and A&E Networks. Content from A&E Networks. Both companies have made a name for themselves in that genre over the past decade. The streaming service is credited with pushing Discovery’s streaming options to 15 million subscribers.
While many services have launched to deliver blockbuster movies, edgy originals, deliver cable sports networks and more, no other offering looks right at the fans of reality TV and says here is the place for you. Now reality TV has a wide range. It can be anything from these personal journey’s seen in shows about trying to lose hundreds of pounds to how to fix up a worn-out deck. Discovery has both kinds of content and more. That is because Discovery Networks owns so many types of networks. It ranges from Discovery Channel and Discovery Health to HGTV and the Food Network. In adding content from A&E Networks Discovery+ is able to bring in content from The History Channel, OWN and Lifetime. If you want to get cooking tips, building tips, get in a dose of true crime, hear the latest or hear the latest gossip you can do it all on Discovery+ and the service starts for only $4.99. The offering has proven very sticky for those who have given it a chance. AdWeek reported that Between 80% and 85% of free trials to the service convert to paying memberships, and about 90% of subscribers have kept their subscriptions up for longer than one month.
That has allowed Discovery+ to rack up 15 million paid customers since it launched in January 2021. While the gold standard for universal entertainment launches is Disney+, Discovery + has proven formidable in the streaming world. YouTube TV, which offers the live channels from which Discovery+ builds its content only has 3 million subscribers. And it is the second biggest cable replacement service in the industry. Adweek reported that about half of the service’s subscriber base is not reachable on traditional cable.
The target audience for Discovery+ has been rather ignored by other services over time. Cable replacement services advertised as though they were sports services. Just look at any commercial in print or video and the first thing you see is a guy getting tackled or dunking a basketball. But Discovery+ says hey all you folks that love to sit and watch the rest of TV have a home here. And by charging a fraction of what many other streaming services do it hits a sweet spot between affordability and the offering itself.
I would venture to say that a cord-cutter who does not care about sports but watches cooking shows and home buying shows all day could add Discovery+ and live the rest of their life happy. So here is our prediction. By this time next year Discovery+ will more than double its current number. It has only been out for 4 months. And in that time through just word of mouth and advertising on partner channels it has become a top 10 service. Think about this. Discovery+ has more streaming subscribers than Showtime, Paramount+, HBO Max, Apple TV+, STARZ and ESPN+ did in 2019. The Covid shutdowns of 2020 was a tide that lifted all boats but those kinds of numbers compared to services that had been streaming for a good few years more than the 2021 newcomer should tell you something.
Discovery+ knows, appreciates and respects its audience. And it is going to push some of the top services in the country and the world aside in the next few years.