Discovery+ hits 18 million subs as Zaslav talks of ‘third global streamer’

David Zaslav

Discovery’s recently launched streamer has amassed 18 million global subscribers, the US-based factual broadcast giant has revealed.

Announcing its Q2 2021 results, Discovery stated that its quarterly revenues increased by 21% to more than $3bn, while the company enjoyed “total next-generation revenue growth” of 130% year-over-year.

The main driver of this ‘next generation’ growth was its Discovery+ direct-to-consumer business, which ended the quarter with 17 million subscribers and was at 18 million users when the company announced its results on 3 August.

Speaking on Discovery’s earnings call, CEO David Zaslav said the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games coverage had fuelled viewership across both linear and digital platforms.

The company had previously revealed that almost three-quarter of a billion streaming minutes were recorded by Discovery over the first week of the games, while the games – via its own platforms and sub-licenced deals – had experienced more than 275 million viewers.

Discovery+ future

Looking ahead for nascent streaming service Discovery+, Discovery International CEO and president JB Perrette said that the company feels “very good about” its international rollout plans, with the streamer scheduled to launch in Brazil, Canada, the Philippines and a number of European markets in Q4, with others planned for 2022.

He said: “We are expecting significantly more growth coming out of those new market launches as we get towards the back half of the year… we obviously will look at making sure we stay smart in the context of when that timing and when that deal might close as to how we maximise the roll out schedule of those services into 2022.”

Third global streamer

While Discovery+ is the focus for the company right now, Discovery is also in the midst of a merger with AT&T’s WarnerMedia to create a new proposed company. Warner Bros. Discovery, which will be led by Zaslav.

Zaslav said there was “broad support” for the deal in the US and added that to date there had been no “pushback” from regulators. “This becomes a very strong company for consumers. A more compelling stream of business,” he added.

There has been some speculation that the deal could be blocked by the Biden administration, which has recently stated its intention to strictly enforce antitrust laws – to the extent that talks between ViacomCBS and Comcast have been put on hold.

Zaslav, however, remains confident, and thinks that “there will be more consolidation, more IP libraries sold” in the “next couple of years,” while stating that “we think that this will be the third global streaming service.”

Indian originals

In related news, Discovery+ India has unveiled a new slate of local original unscripted content.

Among the line-up is a second season of Star vs Food, the celebrity cooking show produced by Endemol Shine India in collaboration with Korea Tourism, as well as a local adaptation of US reality format with Say Yes to the Dress India, while landing today is Chandra Talkies’ original docuseries Money Mafia.

Megha Tata, MD, South Asia, Discovery, Inc, said that the upcoming slate demonstrated: “our constant determination of bringing original, full of life, bold and unexpected stories to our audience.”

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