discovery+ at 18 million subs as CEO Zaslav states confidence in WarnerMedia merger

Discovery’s nascent streaming service has amassed 18 million global subscribers, the broadcast giant has revealed.

Announcing its Q2 2021 results, the company stated that its quarterly revenues increased by 21% to more than US$3 billion, while the Discovery enjoyed “total next-generation revenue growth” of 130% year-over-year. 

Driving this was its direct-to-consumer business, which ended the quarter with 17 million subscribers and was at 18 million users when the company announced its results on August 3.

Speaking on Discovery’s earning’s call, CEO David Zaslav praised the “almost flawless” execution of the ongoing Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games as driving viewership across both linear and digital platforms. The company had previously revealed that almost three-quarter of a billion streaming minutes were recorded by Discovery over the first week of the games, while the games – via its own platforms and sublicenced deals – had experienced more than 275 million viewers.

Looking ahead for discovery+, Discovery International CEO and president JB Perrette said that the company feels “very good about” its international rollout plans, with the streamer scheduled to launch in Brazil, Canada, the Philippines and a number of European markets in Q4, with others planned for 2022. He said: “We are expecting significantly more growth coming out of those new market launches as we get towards the back half of the year… We obviously will look at making sure we stay smart in the context of when that timing and when that deal might close as to how we maximise the roll out schedule of those services into 2022.”

While discovery+ is the focus for the company right now, Discovery is also in the midst of a merger with AT&T’s WarnerMedia to create a new proposed company Warner Bros. Discovery which will be led by Zaslav.

David Zaslav

Zaslav said: “I was in DC last week. I met with the board, spent the full day. There is broad support for this transaction. We haven’t heard any pushback. This becomes a very strong company for consumers. A more compelling stream of business.”

There has been some speculation that the deal could be blocked by the Biden administration which has recently stated its intention to strictly enforce antitrust laws – to the extent that talks between ViacomCBS and Comcast have been put on hold

Zaslav however remains confident, and thinks that “there will be more consolidation, more IP libraries sold” in the “next couple of years,” while stating that “we think that this will be the third global streaming service.”

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