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Discovery now has more than 11 million paid subscribers with Discovery+ playing a key role in that streaming growth. Although notable in itself, it is even more impressive considering how new the service is. Discovery+ only launched in the United States in January 2021, highlighting just how quickly the streaming service is growing.
Discovery+ offers access to a number of popular Discovery networks and shows through the one subscription. There are two plans available with the cheapest ad-supported option costing $4.99 per month. Those interested in an ad-free experience will pay $6.99 per month.
Discovery today released its fourth quarter 2020 results and while the announcement was in relation to the close of 2020, the company confirmed there are now 11 million paying streaming subscribers with that number expected to reach 12 million by the end of February. The earnings report credited a number of factors for the “promising start” of 2021, including the investment in content, as well as access to “personalities and brands with huge consumer appeal.”
A caveat to the number released today is that it is unclear if it includes Verizon customers or not. At the moment, Discovery+ and Verizon have partnered up to offer select Verizon customers up to one year’s worth of Discovery+ for free. These subscribers are technically on a paid plan and so it is unclear if they are being included in the 11 million subscriber count, and if so, how much of that number they account for. In addition, the number is not solely for Discovery+ but for Discovery’s direct-to-consumer subscribers in total. This not only includes subscribers in other countries, but also some of the company’s other direct-to-consumer services.
Strong start, but will it continue?
The last twelve months have seen a number of new streaming services launch, including HBO Max and Peacock. These new services tend to see an immediate response at launch with a wave of consumers signing up. The question for Discovery+ will be whether it can continue with the same subscriber appeal momentum throughout 2021 and beyond.
At the moment, it remains to be seen whether that will be the case. Discovery+ is not quite the cord cutting solution many will be expecting, as it seems to be trying to strike a balance between what content is on Discovery+ and what content remains available through pay-TV partners. That may change in due course, but some subscribers may not see Discovery+ as a worthwhile subscription until all of the content from the various networks are available.
Then again, with plans as low as $4.99 per month, Discovery+ does offer a lot of value and that may be enough to keep the existing subscribers as well as attract new ones. If the service can continue to keep the content on Discovery+ fresh each month, and continues to focus on producing Discovery+ exclusive content, then the 11 million subscribers may grow considerably throughout 2021.