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Discovery+ streaming service goes live with new '90 Day' series and shows from Chip and Joanna Gaines

Mike Snider
USA TODAY

Along with the coming of a new year, there's another streaming service for your consideration: Discovery+.

Launching Monday, the subscription video service boasts more than 55,000 episodes from shows on the Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV, Animal Planet, TLC and other Discovery-owned channels.

The service will be available for $4.99 monthly or $6.99 for an ad-free version. Discovery+ will also have series from A&E, BBC, The History Channel and Lifetime.

Compared with Netflix, Disney+ and other leading streaming services, which focus on scripted movies and TV series, Discovery+ represents "a very broad, comprehensive offering of real-life entertainment," Discovery CEO and President David Zaslav said at an investor conference.

That makes Discovery+ "a great stand-alone product or a great complement" to other streaming services, he said.

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Discovery+: What can I watch?

There are series from the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Lifetime, DIY Network, Travel Channel and the Science Channel. Shows available on demand include "Brother vs. Brother," "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives," "Celebrity IOU" and "Dirty Jobs."

Among the new exclusive series available at launch are several offshoots from the popular "90 Day Fiancé" franchise: "90 Day Journey," "90 Day Diaries" and "90 Day Bares All."

In addition to the return of “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home” on Jan. 29, Chip and Joanna Gaines will have premiere episodes from their Magnolia Network, including cooking show "Magnolia Table With Joanna Gaines," and "First Time Fixer," as well as the documentary special "The Courage to Run With Chip Gaines and Gabe Grunewald."

Also new: "Bobby and Giada in Italy," starring Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis, and "A Perfect Planet," a five-part series narrated by Sir David Attenborough and from the executive producer of "Planet Earth."

In the works: "Route 66," an on-the-road series starring actor and comedian Kevin Hart; a cooking show starring rapper Ludacris; and a series from celebrity chef Carla Hall.

How can I watch?

You can download an app on Android and iOS smartphones and tablets (and iPods) as well as most popular streaming devices, including Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and Xbox video game consoles. Smart TVs with Discovery+ include Samsung Smart TVs and Amazon Fire TV Edition smart TVs. 

This month, Discovery+ is likely to begin streaming 24/7 channels of favorite shows such as "90 Day Fiancé," "Chopped," "House Hunters," "Fixer Upper" and others.

How big can Discovery+ be?

Wall Street analysts estimate that the new service can have 15 million to 20 million subscribers worldwide by the end of 2021. In comparison, as of October 2020, Netflix had 195 million subscribers, and Disney+ had 73 million.

Discovery, which has channels on pay TV systems and on streaming live TV services, doesn't need to match those numbers. But the strategy of going direct to consumers strengthens the company, which acquired Scripps – owner of HGTV, The Food Network and Travel Channel – more than three years ago.

"We found the pricing, go-to-market strategy, and breadth of programming as uniquely compelling," RBC Capital Markets analysts Kutgun Maral and Norman Cohen wrote in a note to investors. They expressed conviction "in Discovery’s ability to adapt and succeed in an increasingly streaming video world."

Consumers, who spend more time at home during the coronavirus pandemic, use more streaming services: seven in October 2020, including those with subscription fees and free services, up from five in April, according to the NPD Group.

“By and large, consumers want the ability to customize their viewing experience, bundling both paid and free services that provide them with the content they want, when they want it,” John Buffone, executive director and industry analyst for NPD’s connected intelligence practice, said in the report.

With all the streaming services available – HBO Max and Peacock launched in 2020; so did Quibi, but it didn't make it to 2021 – consumers "can really assemble their own bundle now, without having to pay for the bloated and ever more expensive cable bundle," Rich Greenfield, partner and media and technology analyst at LightShed Partners, said on Twitter.

Also expected this year, the arrival of a Paramount streaming service including the CBS All Access service bolstered with Paramount movies and shows from Viacom channels such as MTV and BET.

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @MikeSnider.