The Discovery Channel has launched its own streaming platform in India, Discovery Plus. Billing itself as a “premium real-life entertainment” offering, the service will start at a price of ₹299 for a year (Hotstar Premium, which is the home of Discovery’s competitor NatGeo, charges as much for a single month). Much of the content is available dubbed in multiple Indian languages. The company said the service would also have content from Animal Planet, BBC, TLC, Discovery Science, Discovery Turbo, ID, Food Network, HGTV, Cooking Channel, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Motortrend and VICE.
The brand is elbowing into the boisterously competitive streaming video space right as Disney+ launches on Hotstar and Viacom18’s Voot starts a premium tier, each service battling to find compelling titles to get users to buy subscriptions. Even still, Discovery insists, they have a niche that they can fill online for to “teach [viewers] interesting things about the world”. Discovery first started distributing content digitally on Dailyhunt last March, with short-form videos that the company said have been viewed by over 40 million users. For comparison, the company usually has roughly 400,000 viewers at primetime on its English language channel.
Discovery recently hired Neil Chugani, a Google exec, to head its strategy for its “direct-to-consumer” strategy earlier this month. This follows an organisational shakeup last June to pivot the company away from dependence on TV revenue. The company hopes to get a boost from its Man vs. Wild special featuring Rajinikanth next week — the platform will stream the special a couple hours before the TV channel broadcasts it. While the content on the site is largely free, Rajini fans will have to cough up for a yearlong subscription to see the star survive with Bear Grylls two hours before everyone else.