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Discovery Pay TV Subscribers Down, But Live Streaming Services Help Maintain Pace

Nick Dimengo

Discovery Inc. revenue grew by 17% year-over-year, according to the company’s financial reports released today, with advertising and affiliate revenue growing in the U.S., even though international revenue fell against tough year-over-year comparisons. The total revenue reported from Discovery was $2.7 billion, which falls in line with the expectations of Wall Street.

Following Discovery’s acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive last year, which added Scripps-owned channels like Food Network & HGTV — Discovery Inc.’s President & CEO, David Zaslav, says that the company is focused on worldwide content partnerships for both their linear and OTT services. Just last month, Discovery secured a deal with BBC on a 10-year content partnership — which the company hopes will help bring in a younger audience.

In January, the company acquired a cycling-focused YouTube multi-channel network called Play Sports Group, which it hopes to ultimately support with a subscription OTT service. The company also launched GOLFTV, an international streaming golf network, after reaching a $2 billion, 12-year deal with the PGA Tour to include 2,000 hours of live golf. Additionally, the channel secured a deal with Tiger Woods to include to include weekly practice and instructional videos, as well as behind-the-scenes access of Tiger’s preparation for PGA Tour rounds, and post-round commentary.

Zaslav had previously mentioned something similar last month considering the direction of Discovery’s streaming content. In addition to the BBC partnership, the company’s CEO & President mentioned that they plan to launch the Peloton of Food which will allow subscribers to take classes will celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay. The company also plans to rebrand one of their smaller channels, Magnolia Network, with lifestyle gurus, Chip and Joanna Gaines.

According to Discovery CEO David Zaslav:

“The skinny bundles in many cases may be much better for us. People will spend more time with our channels. In the first quarter we delivered a solid start to 2019, as we continue to power people’s passions through our loved brands and our owned global IP in genres that nourish audiences around the world.

One savior of the company has been the growth and their wide distribution on vMVPDs like YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu Live TV, and Sling TV — which collectively reach 7-8 million subscribers. The company saw advertising revenue increase by 4%, despite a drop in pay TV subscribers — as a result to cord-cutting, rather than ratings declines. The company joined Hulu Live TV and Sling TV in December, while YouTube TV added eight Discovery networks to its platform just last month. The additions have helped cover the loss of subscribers from being excluded from DIRECTV NOW’s newly launched PLUS and MAX plans.

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