Discovery forays into OTT space with Discovery Plus

Nandana James Mumbai | Updated on March 17, 2020 Published on March 17, 2020

Discovery, a leading real-life or factual entertainment network, forayed into the over-the-top (OTT) space in India with the launch of ‘Discovery Plus’, but with a twist. Unlike the other 40 odd OTT players in the country, Discovery Plus will not be offering scripted content, and will offer only factual entertainment content.

Priced at an introductory offer of ₹299 per annum, the app aims to tap into what the company identified as a 2.5-crore strong base of ‘core TV infotainment consumers’ across tier-1 and tier-2 towns. This base pertains to those who watch over three hours of infotainment every month.

“One can argue that there are already so many OTT players in the country, do we really need another one ― and that’s a valid argument and a valid question if we were also walking down the path of scripted entertainment. There are over 40 OTT players, but all of them are in the scripted entertainment space. In the factual entertainment or real-life entertainment space, there is none. We felt, there is an opportunity for us to bring content to the audiences who are consuming this kind of content, but do not have a product which gives them the ease and access of content on devices they are using the content for,” Megha Tata, Managing Director – South Asia, Discovery, told BusinessLine.

One of the key insights behind the launch of Discovery Plus was that Discovery should be present where its audiences are, and to ensure the provision of its content, which the audience has been consuming on linear TV, on a Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) platform as well.

Discovery’s large global library of three lakh hours of premium content and its expertise will give it a ‘huge competitive advantage’ in the digital domain, she added.

Tata said that globally, Discovery has been in this D2C space for a few years. It has different D2C products in different markets.

Discovery Plus’ content will be available in more than 40 genres, including science, adventure, food and lifestyle. Its content will also be available in eight languages including Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali and Marathi.

Tata said that India is a “very critical” market for Discovery. “We have addressed some of the challenges in the OTT space in the country, whether it’s cost and proposition, and languaging. All these things, we believe, will play to benefit the product consumption and the growth of the product in India.”

Discovery Plus will be following both the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) and advertisement video-on-demand (AVOD) business models.

Its premium subscribers can access a selection of never-seen-before Premium Discovery titles, documentaries, India originals and other exclusive acquisitions, while its free users will have access to popular content from the Discovery library. Additionally, it will also be offering free short-form video content titled ‘Shorts’, to target mobile users in the country who look for infotainment on the go.

Issac John, Business Head – Digital (South Asia), Discovery, said that around 65 per cent of the content on this OTT platform will be content from its linear TV network, with the remaining being digital exclusive content. One of the reasons why the adoption of a subscription model in the OTT space remains in the low single-digit range is because of the price barrier, and that is why Discovery decided to offer its OTT platform at ₹299 a year, he said.

“Compared to any other app in India, it’s actually a compelling price because essentially, you are paying less than a rupee a day for adoption,” he explained. Owing to its pricing and differentiation in content, Discovery Plus will be going for the SVOD model in a “big way”, he said. Due to the kind of content it offers, Discovery Plus has a “compelling proposition” on the AVOD side as well, he added.

Since most of its content is already accruing from Discovery’s linear channel networks, Tata said that investments will be directed towards technology, promotion and communication to consumers about the product and proposition.

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Published on March 17, 2020
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