Over 11 million people have subscribed to Discovery-based streaming services at the moment according to Discovery CEO David Zaslav who revealed the early success of the platform during a fourth-quarter earnings call this morning.
Discovery has more services than its newest and most well-known one, but it’s obvious to observers that this is being driven by the highly-promoted Discovery+. I have made the point a number of times. I am not foolish enough to think that my experience counts for more than any other person but it at least is as valid as anyone else. And so far this has been mine. Since Discovery+ launched we signed up and my wife and I love it. My cousin checked it out and his girlfriend got hooked immediately, my contractor working on a number of home improvements signed up followed by another friend who mentioned in passing that she set it up commercial-free. So just counting little old me there are 4 subscribers. That is what it looks like when a service is taking off. It’s just like when a new series is taking off. Discovery+ is getting that water cooler treatment.
The reason it is taking off so strong is that it provides the content that a lot of people have been looking for since the idea of cord-cutting first became a fad. It is the unquestioned home of reality shows. Not the angry backstabbing types but the sideshow aspect is still there as much as people might want to pretend that my 600-pound life is some sort of documentary.
Cooking shows, home improvement shows, relationship shows, true crime shows. This service checks off so many boxes for people who have been afraid to drop cable. The focus of cord-cutting has been stuck in place with sports since the launch of Sling TV. Not that it was not monumental to offer ESPN and its initial package for $25.00 in the first place. But the open secret is despite sports being a ratings leader especially for live content there are a lot more hours in the day taken up watching things besides NFL Football and Basketball. In fact entire months with neither on TV. There are also millions of people who could care less when they are on. Discovery+ is hardly the anti-ESPN, but it is representative of a totally different type of programming that is very popular across all demographics. There is no doubt that the programming is not universally loved. But that is no different than any other service. The trending shows section of the app gives illuminates the scope of the programming. There is a wide smattering of content from Ghost haunting shows, to cooking, home improvement shows and programming focussed on individuals with weight problems. Does everyone who watches one type of programming watch the other? Probably not. But it doesn’t matter because they are signed up for the same service regardless. And like the traditional bundle people who sign up for its giant library of true crime shows support those who like seeing backyards remade into an oasis. And the thing is that it isn’t very expensive.
Discovery+ is a definitive piece of the cord-cutting puzzle. In conversations with potential clients for my in-person cord-cutting consulting the two big things I always hear are “My husband has to have his football, and my wife has to have her home shows” Those are not only issues that come up and it is not even accurate to say that men only like sports or that women only like home shows, just ask my Carolina Hurricanes season ticket-holding aunt. But generalizations exist for a reason.
It all adds up for what could end up being a huge win for Discovery Networks.