Discovery counts 200K subs for Euro OTT platforms, shooting for 1M

Discovery Networks President and CEO David Zaslav said his company's over-the-top platforms in Europe have garnered around 200,000 subscribers and the company is expecting to grow that number to 1 million customers. 

"We do have a target in place which we're calling March to a million," he told investors during Discovery's third quarter earnings call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript of the event. "We have 200,000 subscribers right now. And if we can get to a million at the $6 to $8 a month, we could generate close to $100 million in revenue, which I think gets our whole company's attention in terms of culture."

After debuting in Norway, Discovery is currently in the process of expanding its Dplay OTT service to Denmark, Sweden and Italy. The service gives users all-you-can-watch SVOD access to Discovery shows, as well as live sports. 

Separately, through its Eurosport asset, Discovery is rolling out an immersive version of its Eurosport Player in 52 global markets. This new version delivers OTT access of Eurosport channels, letting users pick their camera angle as they watch sports like auto racing.

"The exciting thing about the Eurosport app is that we're growing our direct-to-consumer business, but it's not coming at the expense of the linear channel," Zaslav said. "In fact, the linear channel grew more than 15 percent in the past quarter. So people are signing up for the U.S. Open and they're watching maybe a choice of 18 courts. Most of it is when they're outside the home and then when they're in the home, they're watching one of the three Eurosport channels in most cases. So we're finding that it's additive. We're learning a lot."

These learnings come as Discovery and other leading cable programmers are dealing with declining linear ratings and advertising revenue in the U.S., and are strongly considering domestic OTT plays. 

Discovery, however, reported a 6 percent uptick in U.S. advertising sales for the third quarter. The company's revenue of $279 million represented a slight downtick from the $280 million reported in the third quarter of 2014, but it beat analysts' forecasts. 

For more:
- read this Seeking Alpha transcript

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