Blog Post

Discovery is planning a streaming service — but it won’t be ready for several years

Discovery Communications, which owns channels like TLC and the Discovery Channel, is planning a streaming service that could give existing cable subscribers access to recent episodes of shows like Here Comes Honey Boo BooToddlers and Tiaras and My Cat from Hell — or whichever shows are popular in a couple of years, since the service isn’t launching for awhile. But even today, the service doesn’t sound like a great deal.

Discovery’s executive chairman John Hendricks told Reuters that the service is still in the early development stages and may not be ready for two to five years. It would focus on “TV shows on Discovery’s networks that are between three and 18 months old” because Netflix (s NFLX) and Amazon Prime (s AMZN) only have Discovery shows that are older than 18 months.

But Discovery’s offering doesn’t even sound particularly appealing right now — and it’s hard to imagine that it will seem more compelling a couple of years from now, when people will presumably have even more streaming and cord-cutting options than they have today.

As it’s described now — and, to be fair, it could change — the streaming service would not be something that viewers could pay for à la carte. Rather, it would be available to customers who already get Discovery shows through cable and are willing to pay an extra several dollars a month for streaming access to recent (but not new) episodes of those shows. In that way, it would be unlike HBO Go, which adds new episodes immediately after they air. Plus, HBO Go is free to existing HBO subscribers.

5 Responses to “Discovery is planning a streaming service — but it won’t be ready for several years”

  1. Whats funny was I did the first webcast for, and their education streaming back in 2001. They could have rolled this out years ago. They need to get out of the old school cable broadcasting mentality and combine with new online delivery. they could easily be the first big IPTV player globally besides the BBC and ITV.

  2. TimeKeeper

    I’m not sure why PC gives this type of self serving PR any coverage. Discovery may, or may not, create their own digital service in 3-5 years from now that may, or may not, be as it has bad as it has currently described… What?!

    The bigger question to Discovery should have been “Why are they doing this at all?”. Are there not enough digital platforms out there to carry their content? Do they think they can make more money and get better reach than the current, and future, players can get? Don’t they think this will fragment the viewership by causing them to go to many services to find their media as opposed to one umbrella service?

    How about some more investigation answering the 5 W’s instead of simply reprinting their press release?

  3. I read every Paid Content story and this is a great story, bewildering in what it reports about a major media corp.’s judgment. Good job. One thing though: it was as much an editorialized opinion piece as it was news reporting. An opinion I agree with by the way, but still it would be more ethical if Paid Content could categorize it not just as news but also opinion. It makes me begin to question the reliability and motives of any website when too many adjectives start appearing. It suggests manipulation and I’d hate to have readers associate that with Paid Content which is so factually reliable.

    • That’s silly. It’s not just news, it’s analysis, which means the writer is free to inject thoughtful comments about the subject at hand.

      There’s nothing in there that’s incorrect, by the way. It’s borders on the ridiculous for Discovery to be planning an streaming service in “two to five years.” Just about every media entity is implementing this *now*.

      And if the guys in charge aren’t weighing increasingly popular consumer behavior — e.g., cord-cutting, on-demand, time-shifting, binge watching, etc — then they’ve got their heads in the sand.