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Discovery’s CFO on Potential Price Hikes For Discovery Plus, and the Surprising “Work” Their Library is Doing

Jeff Kotuby

During the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom Conference, Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels discussed discovery+, the brand’s foray into the streaming service game. He offered quite a bit of insight on the pricing for the service and the company’s plans around original content.

Don’t Expect a Discovery+ Price Hike

When asked about a potential price hike, Wiedenfels said it’s “too early” to talk about price increases. Although other services like Disney+ and Netflix have altered their price points since launch, Wiedenfels isn’t sure that a price hike is a prudent move just yet. “Right now, this is the right price points for us,” Wiedenfels said, “Given the efficiency of our content and given that, for us, the bar in the traditional linear world isn’t as high as for many others, we’re very, very happy with where we were able to price these products.”

Widenfels credits Discovery’s “great position” as a reason the company didn’t need to charge the maximum rate possible — they could afford to price discovery+ a little lower than others in the space in order to reach a wider audience. “Over time, we’ll constantly look at what opportunities we have to optimize value here,” Wiedenfels said. “But most importantly, we want to make this product available and attractive to as many people as we possibly can.”

Discovery+’s Strong, Growing Library

Ultimately, a streaming service is only as strong as its content — and Wiedenfels says discovery+ has much more in store. Wiedenfels said the company will air 1,000 original hours of content over the course of the next year, including the 150 hours of original programming that launched with the platform. When asked about more future content, Wiedenfels was tight-lipped, instead sharing his surprise at the “work” their library does for their service.

“We were all a little surprised by how much work our library does with discovery+,” Wiedenfels said. “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.”

Wiedenfels said they would commit to original programming but didn’t offer much more than that. Will we see a true dedication to original programming? Wiedenfels says the company’s pivot to “shot-at-home” content during the pandemic resonated well with audiences. “I think that differentiates us right now from any of our peers that we’re not in repeats,” Wiedenfels said.

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