Now Discovery Has a Subscription Service Because Everyone is Doing It

Posted on January 4, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos with 34 Comments

You can add Discovery+ to the long and growing list of video streaming services that you can now pay for each and every month. But aren’t we already suffering from subscription service fatigue?

“As we go live with Discovery+ today in the U.S., we are thrilled to be working with best-in-class partners to make it available everywhere our fans are,” Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav said in a prepared statement. “Our ambition is simple: Bring consumers the definitive and most complete destination for real-life entertainment at a price point that makes this the perfect companion for every household’s streaming and TV portfolio. There is nothing like it in the market today. We launch with significant advantages, including the world’s greatest collection of non-fiction brands and content, built over more than 30 years across popular and enduring verticals, as well as powerful partnerships with leading distributors and platforms.”

For those unfamiliar, Discovery owns a family of networks that includes such popular options as Animal Planet, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Investigation Discovery, and several others. Discovery+ is a subscription service that lets you stream over 55,000 episodes of current and classic shows from those networks, plus non-fiction content from A&E, the BBC, The History Channel, and Lifetime. The service also provides over 50 original titles and over 150 hours of exclusive content at launch, with a promised 1,000 hours of original content in its first year.

Discovery+ costs $4.99 per month, or $6.99 per month for an ad-free experience. It is available on Amazon Fire TV (and will be coming to Amazon Prime Channels later), Apple i-devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch) and Apple TV, Google living room devices (Chromecast with Google TV, Android TV), Android, Microsoft Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S, Roku, and 2017 and newer Samsung smart TVs.

Discovery+ will be available outside the United States soon, too, and the service had partnered with Vodafone to make it available to existing Vodafone TV and mobile customers in 12 markets across Europe, including the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Turkey, and the UK.

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Comments (34)

34 responses to “Now Discovery Has a Subscription Service Because Everyone is Doing It”

  1. Avatar

    crp0908

    Discovery+ isn't available for Windows 10? So it must not be accessible via a web browser.

  2. Avatar

    TroyTruax

    What this is proving is we still want the cable TV channels. What the problem was is the cable companies never got tiers right. Look at what we're getting now from streaming... we can get the Discovery "tier" (Discovery+), the AMC "tier" (AMC+), the Disney "tier" (Disney+), etc. Imagine what cable would have been like if you could have selected from these same tiers on cable instead of the awkward tiers they would come up with which ended up forcing you to select the "everything" option. They also didn't get on demand. You could never figure out what was available on demand and what wasn't.

    • Avatar

      behindmyscreen

      In reply to TroyTruax:

      Don't mistake a property owner bundling all their stuff into one package and calling it a "service" with demand for such an abomination.

    • Avatar

      retcable

      In reply to TroyTruax:

      The concept of tiers is governed by programming contracts. The programmers dictate on which tiers and programming packages the provider, be it cable or satellite, offers their customers. The programmers can even dictate what particular channel number or range of numbers, their programming must be before the provider can add them to their lineup. For example, the provider is not allowed to relegate The Parakeet Channel to channel 2053, it must be somewhere between 2-13. 2053 is thought by the programmers to be relegating that channel to somewhere where no viewer is likely to go, reducing their audience, never mind The Parakeet Channel is something NO ONE wants to watch, let alone pay for.

  3. Avatar

    jwpear

    I still dream about the day we can subscribe to a "channel" a la carte.


    The fragmentation around content owners/producers is what I fear. It feels like this is a strategy--pulling content and making it exclusive--to force us to subscribe to all the services to get the handful of content we prefer. Or go back to cable to get the big bundle. Either way, the consumer is losing.


    Roku recently pushed an update that mixes some "free" streaming channels with over the air content on the antenna input. I wish I could purchase subscriptions to individual "channels" and then have them presented together on a single input. Basically, I'd like to build my own bundle of "channels" from different providers and have it accessible in one place.

  4. Avatar

    Daekar

    I'm sorry, but if I want to "discover" something I will get Curiosity Stream, Nebula, the Great Courses Plus, or Magellan TV. I can't imagine actually paying for the watered down reality TV they destroyed perfectly good cable channels with.


    Maybe the BBC content isn't terrible.

  5. Avatar

    TigerTom

    Pros and cons to each model. If you had a few of these packages you'd possibly be better off haggling hard with Sky etc for a good introductory deal.


    I suspect most people like us stick to one or two.


    Netflix is our go to. We watch enough of their original content that it's a no brainer to keep it.


    Prime we have for deliveries as it pays for itself. Wouldn't be worth it for the TV alone for us.


    We rotate one other periodically. Normally over holidays like Easter or Xmas we'll pick one to work through and swap it for the next holiday.

  6. Avatar

    waethorn

    You asked for TV on the Internet.


    Welcome to Cable 2.0!

  7. Avatar

    navarac

    We used to have decent TV service in the UK, but now it is all trash interspersed with more trash.

  8. Avatar

    beckoningeagle

    Streaming is the new cable.



    • Avatar

      jwpear

      In reply to BeckoningEagle:

      Yes, it does seem so. However, it also feels like we're starting to see some fragmentation around the content owners/producers, which we were not getting with cable. I'm undecided if this is a pro or con.

    • Avatar

      retcable

      In reply to BeckoningEagle:

      And anyone expecting cord-cutting to reduce the cost of their TV watching is sadly mistaken. These programmers are not about to reduce the cost of their services one bit, so if you subscribe to all of them, you will be paying exactly the same, if not significantly more, than you were with cable or satellite.


      There are some channels in this Discover+ service that I really enjoy, but there are also some that I will never watch. They know this, and they require cable and satellite to carry these channels that no one wants to watch as a condition for being allowed to carry the popular channels. This has always been the case. People have railed that cable and satellite are gouging viewers with dozens of channels they do not want, when the opposite is true. Cable and satellite are REQUIRED to carry those awful channels, and nothing is going to change about that with these new streaming services.

  9. Avatar

    gregsedwards

    I used to work for Discovery, so I've been aware this streaming service was coming for some time. And even I wouldn't pay for it.

    I guess for some, this may be a great deal. But the fact is that the Discovery "brand" has become diluted over the years by the homogenization of cable TV content. These days, if you come to the Discovery networks looking for nature, home, travel, learning, or cooking, you're more likely to find shows about Alaskan ice truckers or fiancées who've never met. If you love those shows, then I guess good for you, but I think most viewers are going to be pretty disappointed.

    What we're seeing here is the same "bundling" that happened on cable TV, just way more focused. You can't just pick a few shows, or even a network...you have to get their entire ecosystem of content, and most of it is...well, not great. Discovery wants to be Disney, Netflix, or even HBO, and they want to sell viewers on the idea that their content is in that same realm. But the way it's being offered, you're going have to take lots of stuff you probably don't want just to get those few things you do want. If you love specific Discovery shows, then you're probably better off buying those than going with this subscription.

    • Avatar

      behindmyscreen

      In reply to gregsedwards:

      Discovery properties to me range from mildly amusing background noise for the home (HGTV) to pure trailer trash or hot garbage (TLC and History).

    • Avatar

      retcable

      In reply to gregsedwards:

      I have owned and operated a cable TV system for 40 years and your comment is very true. History Channel is no longer about history, you have to look very hard to find a weather forecast on the Weather channel, Food Network is no longer about food, they only show food competition shows, A&E Arts and Entertainment, please, give me a break, and even Discovery and Science now have a lot of reality shows on their schedule as you note. What the hell do those shows have to do with science and nature?. MTV and CMT are nothing but reality shows where awful people do awful things and scream at each other all the time.


      I could go on but I will not. TV viewers have finally seen the truth to what is happening and they are cutting the cord in favor of streaming services where they hope to be able to pick and choose the channels they want to watch, something they have wanted for decades but the programmers refuse to provide. And now viewers are finding that they will still be paying for the useless channels as they are part of the packages the programmers have on their streaming services. Nothing ever changes.


  10. Avatar

    compsciguy31415

    Discovery networks used to put out good material, but now it is mostly "reality" TV and ancient alien pseudoscience.

  11. Avatar

    jecouch66

    I must be in the minority here. I say the more, the merrier. I don't keep any of these for more than a few months because there just isn't enough good content on them. So, I'll drop CBS All Access this month and try discovery for the next month. The only ones I keep are Netflix and Prime Video. Prime Video because it comes with prime membership and Netflix because the rest of my family uses it. I haven't watched anything on Netflix for about two months now. I think all of these subscription services will eventually combine into just a few.

  12. Avatar

    jeff.bane

    I love all this progress. I used to pay a monthly fee to get every channel now I pay every channel a monthly fee.

  13. Avatar

    zorb56

    Annoying. Nothing short of annoying. I hope that others, like me, simply just stop watching programs that get pushed to these services. My hard-earned dollars are going to home improvement and physical things I enjoy, like model trains, as opposed to "peacock" (nobody cares about your logo, NBC, it was perhaps clever when TVs started going to color ~45 years ago) or "Discovery+".

  14. Avatar

    Scott Ross

    I would cancel Hulu because my wife pretty much watches most of these channels, maybe pick up sling because it is cheaper, and still gives me sports. I would also keep my subscription to Locast because Antennas in my area are not the best answer.

  15. Avatar

    simont

    It's almost like Cable TV is a good idea (Apart from the terrible customer service)

  16. Avatar

    Ajay213

    Isn't this what everybody wanted? The ability to pick their own networks and pay for them individually?


    I am now paying nearly as much for cord cutting as I did when I had cable/satellite. And I have no 'live TV'...on the flip side I do have an enormous library of old programming to watch which just wasn't possible/feasible with cable/sat.

  17. Avatar

    Daninbusiness

    As has been noted, the history of business is a history of product bundling and unbundling. :)


    If Discovery content was all I ever wanted, this is a great deal! Considering that I do enjoy other content as well, then yes...it could add up quickly; would I be abandoning my existing subscriptions for this? No.


    I will probably hold off.


    Though if I was, the ad-free model is awfully tempting considering just how many ads there seem to be on HGTV and DIY.


    Then again, I only have so much time to spend on entertainment anyway.

  18. Avatar

    christophercollins

    I've kept a Dish subscription for years.


    They work with me to keep the bill cheap enough, but each year I have to reup a 12 month deal.


    I watch enough of the channels I had where this is about even money and their DVR is awesome, especially in the way it handles local networks.


    I knew streaming would nickel and dime us to death. I turn things on, binge, turn them off.


    It also assists that sports, etc... isn't eating at my Comcast data cap.

  19. Avatar

    markbyrn

    Actually I like this option because I can subscribe for a month or two to binge-watch some of my favorites on several of these channels. There's certainly subscription fatigue but if you're selective and disciplined, it might work in your favor.

  20. Avatar

    hellcatm

    This is the new cable. If people just didn't subscribe to these things then they'd go away, but as seen from Disney+ and CBS all access and a ton of others people just can't stop. People are cutting the cord only to pay for separate subs...smart.

    • Avatar

      bhofer

      In reply to HellcatM:

      True, but you also have to keep in mind that not all cord cutters are subscribing to every streaming service out there, or perhaps they rotate between them. The ones I know only subscribe to a few services they care about, all for much less than the cost of a cable subscription. If someone is paying more for streaming services than a cable subscription, they should probably reconsider their options.

  21. Avatar

    sykeward

    I'm pretty close to burning out on all the subscription ransom options we have now, but I'm actually happy to see this story since the only reason we pay for cable is so my wife can watch trashy shows on a couple of these channels and then listen to podcasts making fun of aforementioned trashy shows. I'd happily pay $5-$7 so I can shake off the cable TV shackles once and for all.


    Side note: I know I'm getting old because I remember when TLC stood for "The Learning Channel" and not "Terrible Life Choices".

    • Avatar

      christianwilson

      In reply to Sykeward:

      "The Learning Channel" used to be so good. That was forever ago.


      I just sliced off some subscriptions from the monthly budget. I don't know if I would say I'm in the burn out stage, but I woke up one day and realized I pay for several subscriptions I barely use. Not because I don't like the content. I just don't have the time to consume everything.

  22. Avatar

    Patrick3D

    HGTV means wives will finally agree to cut the cord.

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