Discovery continues its push into digital with Sling TV carriage deal

Sling TV
Sling TV already included Discovery-owned channels like Food Network and HGTV. (Sling TV)

Discovery Inc. has made a series of big moves into streaming video over the last month—launching several new TV Everywhere apps, licensing a big catalog of shows to free, ad-supported streamer Pluto TV, and announcing its GolfTV SVOD service for non-U.S. markets—and launched three of its most popular channels today on streamer Sling TV.

“We’re growing very effectively, but we haven’t overinvested in content because we do believe that we need to reach these 4 billion devices,” Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav said, holding up his smartphone in an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box this morning. “The best way to reach that is to have stuff that people really, really want.”

Zaslav highlighted Discovery’s strategic investments in sports and nonscripted video and distribution of that content on smartphones and other digital devices as keys to the company’s success over the last several years. Discovery completed its acquisition of Scripps Network Interactive in March 2018 and has moved quickly to streamline the company’s content delivery across a broad range of digital channels.

Discovery’s new carriage deal with Dish Network’s Sling TV streamer includes placement of its three popular channels—Discovery Channel, Investigation Discovery and TLC—on Sling Orange and Sling Blue, which are Sling TV’s $25-a-month base plans. Five other Discovery channels are now available on the service’s various premium tiers.

RELATED: Discovery launches TV Everywhere ‘Go’ apps for HGTV, Food Network and other Scripps networks

“Discovery's commitment to viewers across the globe is to share our brands across every screen, service and device,” said Eric Phillips, president of Affiliate Distribution at Discovery, in the announcement. “This partnership with Sling TV is another positive step towards ensuring our brands are reaching our fans no matter where they are watching."

Added Sling TV President Warren Schlichting: “We are thrilled to add Discovery networks to Sling TV's lineup as they bring highly-requested channels that offer immersive programs for any age group. With the addition of some Discovery channels in our base service and others in our genre-based add-on extras, we continue to deliver on our consumer promise of providing the most choice and flexibility in programming options."

Sling TV already included Discovery-owned channels like Food Network and HGTV from its carriage deal with Scripps prior to Discovery’s acquisition of Scripps, but Discovery had been the only major cable group that did not have a carriage deal with Sling TV. Discovery’s most popular channels are now available on Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Hulu, fuboTV and Philo.

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