In a move that would seem to bely the unified-app ambitions of its newly merged parent company, SVOD service Discovery Plus launched on wholesale platform Roku Channels Tuesday.
Roku users can sign up for a free seven-day Discovery Plus trial and initiate a full subscription to the $6.99-a-month streaming service within the big-tent Roku Channel app.
The integration into the popular Roku Channel environment, which blends 80 million on-demand movies and TV shows with more than 200 live channels, along with wholesale distribution of popular subscription streaming services, will boost uptake of Discovery Plus, which ended 2021 with 22 million paid users worldwide.
Discovery Plus is already distributed on Amazon Prime Video Channels, the platform that created the wholesale revenue sharing model for streaming services.
Additionally, the streaming service is distributed within "on us" promotional plans tied to Verizon and AT&T unlimited wireless products.
With WarnerMedia and Discovery last week, and stating an expressed goal of combining a collection of apps that also includes HBO Max and CNN Plus, the further proliferation of Discovery Plus into the wholesale channels market seems to go against the grain.
Notably, WarnerMedia staunchly resisted inclusion of HBO Max within Amazon Prime Video Channels, insisting that the app be distributed on a direct-to-consumer basis whereby none of its data or revenue would have to be shared.
The decision contributed significantly to a protracted impasse with Amazon, restricting support for the HBO Max app on Amazon Fire TV through most of Max's launch year, 2020. WarnerMedia finally ended HBO's entanglement with Prime Video Channels last summer, a move that HBO Max chief Andy Forssell said costed the streaming service 5 million customers.
So, if Discovery Plus is to merge with HBO Max, either Max has to come back into the wholesale tent and be "disaggregated," along with the rest of the offerings. Or Discovery Plus must endure the pain of ending its own entanglements with Roku, Amazon, Verizon and AT&T.
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!
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