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Discovery Reaches 20 Million Direct-to-Consumer Subscribers in Q3 2021, Up 3 Million Since Last Quarter

Aubrey Chorpenning

Discovery announced that they ended Q3 2021 with 20 million Direct-to-Consumer Subscribers, up 3 million subscribers from Q2. That includes subscribers on discovery+, along with their previously launched international platforms including dPlay, which was rebranded to discovery+ late last year.

After discovery+ launched in January 2021, Discovery reported 12 million subscribers in February, 13 million in March, and 15 million in April. By the end of Q2, the streaming service surpassed 17 million subscribers.

David Zaslav, President and Chief Executive Officer of Discovery said:

“We made great strides in the quarter operationally, financially and creatively. The team drove solid momentum in our direct-to-consumer business, which we grew to 20 million paid subscribers at quarter end on the strength of our global brands and fan-favorite content, including the Summer Olympic Games and Shark Week.”

Earlier this year, a huge deal between Discovery and WarnerMedia was announced. The merger is set to be approved in the first half of 2022. This agreement combines movie studio Warner Bros. with linear TV networks including CNN, TBS, TNT, Discovery, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, and Animal Planet. In a statement during the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference, Discovery CEO David Zaslav said, “We have great content. A library almost as big or bigger than Netflix.”

During the Q3 Earnings Call, Zaslav said that they “believe less than half of discovery+ subscribers are also HBO Max subscribers, which with the right packaging provides a real opportunity to broaden the base of our combined offering.”

In recent months, discovery+ has expanded its reach in new locations and additional devices. Last month, the streaming service made its Canadian debut. LG smart TV users and VIZIO SmartCast TV owners recently gained access to the service as well.

This summer, discovery+ saw a spike in viewership, thanks to its exclusive coverage of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics throughout Europe. However, following the Games, the company has been tasked with keeping its subscribers interested enough to continue paying for the service each month. And that’s where discovery+ appears to be struggling.

During their Q3 Earnings Call, Discovery CEO said that their DTC platforms are approaching “peer group lows.” However, a recent study shows that discovery+ is running into some issues with subscriber churn. While services like Netflix are able to retain subscribers, discovery+ hasn't nailed that down yet.

This could be due to the very niche programming that the streaming service offers. Most of the content available to stream on discovery+ is reality TV or DIY programming, which doesn’t draw in a wide audience. Another problem is that discovery+ must share content with TV channels, including TLC. The lack of exclusivity makes it easy for subscribers to access the same content elsewhere.

However, discovery+ only launched in January 2021, so there has been little data to interpret so far. discovery+’s one-year anniversary comes days after Q4 ends, which may offer more insight into the young service’s successes and failures.


discovery+ is a video streaming service that offers more than 55,000 episodes of 2,500+ current and classic shows from several popular TV brands including Discovery, Investigation Discovery, HGTV, TLC, Food Network, A&E, Lifetime y History.

The service primarily focuses on non-fiction programming or “reality” TV shows.

discovery+ is available with limited ads for USD 4.99 / mes or ad-free for USD 6.99 / mes.

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