Golf TV in the bunker as WBD dispenses with another niche streamer

As staff and service restructuring shockwaves continue to reverberate through every corner of Warner Bros Discovery’s global empire, the latest casualty is dedicated golf streaming service Golf TV. In a memo to Golf TV subscribers on Friday, WBD said the global ex-US service will end on December 12, with its current inventory of live events relocating to Discovery+ and other platforms within the group.

JB Perrette

The core of the dedicated service is content from the PGA Tour, which is currently in the midst of a 12 year, $2 billion agreement with the streamer. However the rights holder seems comfortable with the shift in strategy, which won’t involve any financial adjustments. In fact, some observers have suggested the writing was on the wall in late 2021, when the PGA Tour merged its US streaming platform into Disney’s ESPN+.

After the expensive failure of CNN+ earlier this year, the key message coming out of WBD is that super-serving streaming niches is not a viable strategy – at least for a broad-based outfit like WBD (perhaps more so for low cost agile players). JB Perrette, president and CEO, global streaming and games, was reported earlier this year by The New York Times as skeptical of the company’s ability to run niche streaming services profitably, citing Discovery’s lack of success in areas like cars, food and golf.

Golf TV was launched as an ex-US service in January 2019. At the time, Alex Kaplan, (former) president and general manager, Discovery Golf said: “Building on Discovery’s heritage of real-life storytelling and direct-to-consumer platform experience, we’ve already established a world-class Golf TV team. With work well underway, our carefully considered plans will allow us to continually enhance Golf TV as we roll-out and further develop the product.” Currently, WBD is embroiled in the process of merging HBO Max and Discovery+ into a unified service by mid-2023.

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