Discovery announced its foray into the Indian video-streaming market with the launch of Discovery Plus, joining a clutch of over 30 players to compete for the same set of viewers.
What, however, differentiates Discovery Plus from the pack is its offering of unscripted content, a segment other players are yet to tap into in a significant, concerted manner. Simply put, unscripted content implies programmes that are not scripted like live stunts or documentary series. Although Discovery Plus’s product slate is niche, segments like science, adventure, food and lifestyle being the primary focus, the pricing is ‘mass’ or affordable so to say. The subscription fees are Rs 99 per month and Rs 299 for a year. The platform has a mix of both AVOD (advertising video-on-demand) and SVOD (subscriber video-on-demand) contents.
We did not want it to be a Tier-I, white-collar salaried, professional type of product. We were very clear that price should not be a reason for consumers to not subscribe to Discovery Plus,” Issac John, business head, digital (South Asia) at Discovery, told FE in an interview.
To make sure that the OTT platform caters to a much wider audience, about 70% of the content is available in five languages. In all, the platform is available in eight languages, including Hindi and English.
Netflix’s basic monthly subscription pack starts at Rs 499 for the India market (they have a Rs199 mobile-only pack). Hotstar’s monthly pack costs Rs 299 while the yearly pack is priced at Rs 999. Amazon Prime Video, part of the Prime package, costs Rs 129 a month and Rs 999 for a year.
In the initial phase, Discovery Plus aims to reach out to 25-million strong base of core TV infotainment consumers across Tier-I and Tier-II cities in India (defined as those who watch over three hours of infotainment every month), the company said.
Discovery’s network of channels reaches nearly 164 million customers in India on a monthly basis, the company said, citing BARC data.
Megha Tata, managing director, South Asia at Discovery, told FE that a negligible cost of content is what gives Discovery Plus an edge over other players in the space. Discovery owns about 300,000 hours of global premium content, bulk of which remain unexposed to the Indian audience. “Cost of content is the challenge for most other OTT players in the country. We are not sure how sustainable the model is in the long run,” Tata said.
The Discovery Plus platform will also feature a fair amount of digital exclusives for subscribers, John said. The app’s free section will give viewers access to content from Discovery library while the subscribers for the premium section will include India originals, exclusive acquisitions, premium discovery titles and must-watch documentaries.
The OTT firm claims to be providing viewers with thousands of hours of content across more than 40 genres. Additionally, the platform has a section called ‘Shorts’ that features hundreds of free short-form videos.
As many as 550 million consumers are estimated to take to online video viewing by FY23, according to a recent KPMG-Eros Now report.