Discovery nears 12M global paid streaming subscribers

Discovery said it's off to a promising start with its new Discovery+ streaming service and that it now has more than 11 million global paid direct-to-consumer subscribers.

The company said it expects to hit 12 million paid subscribers by the end of February. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said that most of the 7 million direct-to-consumer streaming subscribers that Discovery added since the end of the third quarter were Discovery+ customers in the U.S.

Discovery+, which launched on Jan. 4, is one of the company’s direct-to-consumer services including Eurosport Player, which will eventually be collapsed into Discovery+.

Zaslav said his company is still working on modifying Discovery+ for its global rollout so it can be integrated with different pay TV platforms. The company has already rebranded its DPlay streaming service at Discovery+.

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Discovery+ costs $4.99 per month or $6.99 per month without ads. The service launched in partnership with Verizon, which is giving many of its subscribers a free year of access. According to Lightshed analyst Rich Greenfield, Discovery+ brought in about 1 million to 1.5 million subscribers from its Verizon promo.

Zaslav said the Discovery+ is seeing subscribers coming in from his company’s broad marketing efforts and marketing on Discovery’s own platforms. He said the average age of new subscribers is “across the board,” which he partly attributed to the work Disney+ has done in acclimating more people to direct-to-consumer streaming.

Zaslav also described both the conversion to paid subscription rate and engagement time on the platform as terrific.

“Right now, it looks good. We can’t tell you how big the market is but right now, it feels like we’re off and running,” he said.

Discovery reported total revenues of $2.88 billion, which stayed essentially flat year over year, for the fourth quarter. Adjusted OIBDA dropped 9% to approximately $1 billion.