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Discovery keeps teasing (but not launching) a streaming service

Discovery keeps teasing (but not launching) a streaming service
[Photo: John/Wikimedia Commons]

Once again, Discovery CEO David Zaslav is hinting at a standalone streaming video service, comprising all 17 of the network’s cable TV channels. This time, Zaslav said at an industry event that the service could cost between $5 and $8 per month, AdWeek reports, though he hasn’t said when the service might launch.

The idea of a Discovery streaming service first emerged a year ago, right before the company acquired Scripps Networks. At the time, AdAge reported that the service could cost as little as $3 per month. Zaslav has since said that Discovery is “thinking about,” “looking at,” and “looking hard at” a Netflix-style subscription offering, floating a price of $6 to $8 per month.

Why the hesitation? Although Discovery has partnered with AMC and Viacom on a non-sports streaming TV bundle from Philo, only premium cable networks such as HBO and Showtime have ventured out of the bundle on their own. Other basic cable networks, such as ESPN, have carefully avoided any overlap between streaming and cable programming. A standalone Discovery service seems inevitable, but actually launching the thing would be a big step that could further jeopardize what was once a lucrative business model.

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