© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Creator and producer Simon Fuller and director and producer John Downer attend a panel for the Discovery Channel show "Serengeti" during the Discovery portion of the Television Critics Association (TCA) Summer Press Tour in B.
By Helen Coster
(Reuters) – Discovery (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc. is launching a new streaming service called Discovery + and has signed a distribution agreement with the United States Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE :), which will bring the service to 50 million customers the following first day Disney to lead.
Discovery + will be available in the US on January 4th and will feature 55,000 episodes from channels in the Discovery portfolio, including HGTV, Food Network and Animal Planet.
The service is free for new and existing Verizon customers for up to 12 months, depending on the plan. Individuals who are not eligible for the free trial can subscribe to the service for $ 4.99 per month with ads or $ 6.99 per month without ads.
Verizon played a role in the success of Walt Disney's (NYSE 🙂 Co's Disney + streaming service by making it available to millions of cellular customers. The service launched in November 2019 and had 73.7 million subscribers a year later. Disney has not disclosed how many of these subscribers paid for the service or received it for free through Verizon.
The discovery + launch comes as restrictions related to COVID-19 have kept people at home and fueled the growth in streaming subscribers. According to a study by the Leichtman Research Group, more than half of US households now subscribe to multiple streaming services. Discovery's challenge is to be one of them.
The company insists that the service's focus on non-written programming in categories such as Grocery and Home Improvement will complement streaming competitors that draw large audiences with scripted shows such as "The Mandalorian" on Disney + and "The Queen's Gambit "on Netflix (NASDAQ :).
"Maybe the kind of sexy stuff on the red carpet is part of the movies and script series, but more than 50% of people watch our stuff," said David Zaslav, chief executive officer of Discovery, in an interview. “And we are one of one. There are six or seven players in the screenplay series and screenplay films so each of them is one in five, or one in six, or one in seven. "
Discovery + has already been launched in India, the UK and Ireland and will eventually be available in 25 countries. To scale quickly, the company relies on distribution agreements with Sky in the UK and Ireland. Telecom Italia (MI 🙂 in Italy and Megogo in Eastern Europe.
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