Is Discovery Plus late to the streaming war? Why they’re doomed to fail
There are so many streaming platforms at this point that we’ve lost track of them all, and yet production companies continue to roll out their own personal platforms with fanfare as if there are people that even care. The latest to join in on the streaming platform chaos is Discovery who will be debuting Discovery Plus on January 4.
Discovery curates the cable channels Food Network, HGTV, Animal Planet, History Channel, Discovery Channel (obviously), and more. So all these channels will likely be having their content ported to Discover Plus, as well the site’s own original content.
The price point is fairly palatable – the starting price is $4.99 for content with ads and $6.99 for ad-free viewing. Certain Verizon customers will even get a year-long free trial of the service. This all sounds great, so why do we think Discovery Plus will flop? Let us explain.
An oversaturated market
The biggest issue here is that there are just too many streaming platforms out there. Quibi was the first to fall victim to this – unless you have something grand to offer nobody is going to pay a monthly fee for your content anymore. People are already annoyed with the number of subscriptions they’re juggling and paying for.
Disney+ and HBO Max were able to break into the market because they’re big brands with dedicated followers. While we’re sure there are probably a few people who follow Discovery too, we can confidently say that number is far lower.
Services like Apple TV+ (by the way, why are all these services adding a plus to the end?) are left to the wayside because there’s just too much content. Nobody can manage it all.
Wallets dictate decisions
People are up to their eyeballs in bills and debts thanks to a worldwide pandemic currently causing chaos in practically every aspect of daily life. Launching Discovery Plus in January means a portion of the audience who might actually consider a Discovery Plus subscription won’t be able to afford even the lowest price right now.
Another group will find themselves in the position where they’re already paying the maximum amount they’re willing (and likely able) to spend on entertainment & streaming services each month.
With so much premium content to choose from these days why would anyone choose Discovery Plus over something like Hulu? A site that not only allows them to watch Discovery channels episodes as VOD, but also has original content and the content of other channels & production companies – and that’s just Hulu’s lowest price point.
We’re not here to bash what Discovery does – they have some truly great content and we love that they often specialize in edutainment, AKA educational entertainment. Plus, they’ll always be adored for Mythbusters and the annual summertime event Shark Week.
However, most of what they do is great for passive watchers or people who want something on in the background. There’s not much of a draw for consumers to pay for that kind of content, nor is there much reason. They could just as easily – actually more easily, turn on HGTV’s live channel and call it good. For passive watchers it doesn’t really matter too much if it isn’t their favorite house flipping show – their second favorite will do just as well.
It’s these reasons that have us convinced Discovery Plus is going to see a rocky start and turbulent future. While we’re not sure that Discovery will be the same kind of massive flop that Quibi was, we do think it was a big fat canary in the coal mine. Quibi might be the first streaming platform to bite the dust, but we know it won’t be the last.
Quibi asphyxiated in the ever tightening streaming space, and we’re not convinced that Discovery Plus will be able to carve out much more room for themselves.