Olivia Michael | CNBC
Discovery is the latest media company to jump into the ever more crowded streaming wars.
It will launch its streaming service Discovery+ in Jan. 2021, sources told CNBC’s David Faber. The service will include a $4.99 per month ad-supported tier and a $6.99 per month ad-free tier.
The lower $4.99 tier costs the same as NBCUniversal-owned Peacock’s premium tier with ads. The ad-free $6.99 tier is on par with what Disney+ costs. Both offerings are much less expensive than WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, which costs $14.99 a month, and Netflix, which raised its standard plan to $13.99 a month in Oct.
Discovery is also partnering with Verizon, which will give 55 million customers up to 12 months of Discovery+ for free, depending on their plan.
Partnerships will be key to Discovery’s success.
The company owns networks like the Discovery Channel, famous for its annual Shark Week, as well as home improvement channel HGTV and Food Network, among others.
But it is smaller and lesser known than its competitors which just launched their streaming services in the past year. In just one year, Disney+ has amassed 73.7 million subscribers, far exceeding the company’s expectations for 60 to 90 million subscribers by 2024. NBCUniversal’s Peacock, which launched this summer, has reached nearly 22 million sign-ups already. WarnerMedia reported more than 38 million domestic subscribers for HBO and HBOMax in October.
In early 2021, Paramount+ from ViacomCBS will also launch.
Discovery will hope its programming and partnerships can set its service apart as it joins a crowded field of competitors with leaders pulling away from the rest of the pack.
Discovery is expected to reveal more details on its streaming service during an event at noon ET Wednesday.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.