Discovery+ joins growing list of streaming services; new series coming from Kevin Hart, Chip and Joanna Gaines
Corrections & Clarifications: A previous version of this story misidentified the parent company of Discovery Channel, HGTV and Food Network, which is Discovery Inc.
Add another contender for your streaming subscription list: Discovery+.
The new service from the parent of the Discovery Channel, HGTV and Food Network launches Jan. 4, 2021, with on-demand access to more than 55,000 episodes from shows such "Brother vs. Brother," "Frozen Planet," "Deadliest Catch" and "Crikey! It's the Irwins."
The service, which will be available for $4.99 monthly or $6.99 for an ad-free version, will also have content from BBC and nonfiction content from A&E, The History Channel and Lifetime.
Exclusive for the Discovery+ launch is the new series "90 Day Journey" and another tent pole series from the "90 Day Fiancé" franchise, with more content on the way.
Also in the works for Discovery+ are "Route 66," with actor and comedian Kevin Hart on the road across the U.S., and a new reboot of "Fixer Upper: Welcome Home" from Chip and Joanna Gaines, as well as other offerings from their new Magnolia Network.
Other exclusives due in 2021 are "Bobby and Giada in Italy," starring chefs, Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, a cooking show starring rapper Ludacris and a new series from celebrity chef Carla Hall.
"Discovery+ will be the only streaming service dedicated to quality unscripted content driven by real-life characters loved brands and exceptional storytelling," said Discovery Inc. president and CEO David Zaslav. "We believe the service will be a perfect complement to every household's streaming portfolio."
Discovery+ will not have live, linear feeds of its channels, which are available on traditional pay-TV services, as well as streaming services such as AT&T TV, fuboTV, Sling TV, Philo and YouTube TV.
Each Discovery+ account can have up to five profiles and four concurrent streams, and will be available on most devices and connected TVs.
Some Verizon customers will get up to 12 months of Discovery+ free, depending on their wireless broadband plans.
Streaming has grown during the pandemic with 82% of U.S. households have at least one streaming service, according to Leichtman Research Group. Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu are typically the top choices, but 49% have three or more services.
"Nearly four-fifths of U.S. households now have a top SVOD (subscription video on demand) service, and 40% of all adults stream an SVOD service daily, including over half of all ages 18-44," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group. "The adoption and use of these established SVOD services along with newer direct-to-consumer streaming video options have increased over the past year, spurred more recently by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic."
Alan Wolk, lead analyst at research firm TVREV, says Discovery does have an advantage in going direct to consumers because it owns much of its content (whereas many other services must license it). That "is going to be huge going forward," he tweeted.
But Rich Greenfield, partner and media and technology analyst at LightShed Partners,
hinted on Twitter that perhaps Discovery CEO Zaslav was being a bit too bullish in comparing Discovery+ appeal to that of the NFL, using a GIF of actress Lauren Conrad saying, "Whoa."
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.