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Media Analyst Predicts Huge Subscriber Gain for Discovery+

Jeff Kotuby

One media analyst thinks discovery+ is going to hit HBO Max-level numbers by the end of 2021.

John Hodulik, a telecom and cable analyst working for UBS, believes Discovery’s fast-rising streaming service will reach 23 million global subscribers — including 8 million U.S. subs — by the end of 2021. That number eclipses Discovery’s own projection last month of 12 million subscribers.

UBS credits discovery+’s content library, which means there are no issues with licensing deals, along with great potential for international growth. Established shows like“90 Day Fiance,” and “Chopped” are internationally charged, while original programming like “Bobby and Giada in Italy” and “90 Day Diaries” give subscribers unique experiences that traditional Discovery viewers won’t be able to access.

Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels credited discovery+’s strong library, saying, “We were all a little surprised by how much work our library does with discovery+. Our 4 top shows have driven less than 10% of viewership. And 93% of all episodes have at least been watched once in those first 8 weeks or so.”

The service recently added content from All3Media International, including “Race Across the World,” “Naked Attraction” and “The Undateables.” It also contains three Gordon Ramsay shows, one of which will debut on the platform later this year.

“While discovery+ appears off to a strong start, we remain concerned regarding the ultimate scalability of the service in relation to the decline of the linear business and longer term impact on financials,” wrote Hodulik in a research note. UBS estimated that Discovery will lose approximately 5 million U.S. linear subscribers per year through 2024.

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