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Discovery Tops 11 Million Paid Streaming Subscribers

Company is “on pace” to hit 12 million by end of February, according to David Zaslav

Discovery, Inc. has topped 11 million total paid streaming subscribers since the Jan. 4, 2021 debut of Discovery+ and the company is “on pace” to hit 12 million SVOD subs by the end of February.

“We are off to a promising start in 2021 with the successful launch of discovery+,” CEO David Zaslav said in a statement Monday when unveiling the company’s fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 earnings. “We have now surpassed 11 million total paying direct-to-consumer subscribers globally and are on pace to be at 12 million by the end of the month, underscoring the value of the investments we’ve made in content, beloved personalities and brands with huge consumer appeal, supported by industry-leading DTC capabilities.”

Zaslav clarified later Monday on an investor call discussing earnings in further detail that this subscriber number was across “our entire portfolio,” which includes Discovery’s international direct-to-consumer products, like Eurosport Player and GolfTV, but the “vast” majority of the company’s nearly 12 million streaming subscribers are paying Discovery+ customers.

Discovery+ costs $4.99 per month with ads or $6.99 without ads.

When it debuted Jan. 4, Discovery’s platform had “the largest-ever content offering of any new streaming service” at launch, per Discovery, including more than 50 original titles and over 150 hours of exclusive content,” like the preview of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network.

Overall, Discovery+ features more than 55,000 episodes from more than 2,500 series across Discovery’s vast swath of networks, including HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet

Zaslav noting “paying” subs Monday is key, because ahead of Discovery+’s January launch, the company partnered with Verizon to give its 55 million customers up to a free year of Discovery+, depending on their service plans. Disney made a similar deal with the phone carrier when it launched Disney+ a year ago.

When it launched, Discovery+ was the ninth major streaming service and the sixth new launch within an 18-month span. The streaming wars claimed its first victim when Quibi, the short-form service from Jeffrey Katzenberg, shut down less than eight months after its debut.

Discovery, Inc. reported a successful fourth quarter 2020 — in terms of Wall Street’s expectations, at least — on Monday morning. Last year’s Q4 was the final 90-day period before streaming service Discovery+ was launched on Jan. 4, 2021. You can read more about those earnings results here.