Discovery+ Adds ‘Originals’ To Content Slate After Witnessing  Growth In India
Signage is displayed on the exterior of Discovery Communications Inc. headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S. (Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Discovery+ Adds ‘Originals’ To Content Slate After Witnessing Growth In India

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Discovery+ on Thursday said the video streaming app is witnessing a 60% month-on-month growth in user base, and is now bringing in 'originals' featuring actors like Manoj Bajpayee, Rana Daggubati and Randeep Hooda to elevate its local content line-up.

The streaming app was launched in India in March this year, and has since then added over 600 marquee shows across 60 different sub-genres including sports, biopics, mystery, lifestyle, nature, science and military among others.

On Thursday, Discovery Inc. announced that it will expand Discovery+ to the U.S. on Jan. 4. The global rollout of Discovery+ across an initial 25 countries has already begun with the U.K. and Ireland.

"Discovery+ is already among the highest-rated OTT apps on Google Play and App Store in India. We have seen a 60% growth month-on-month in user base and our conversion rate from free to paid users is also high at 18-20%. We were often asked about our plans on originals, and so we are bringing it for the audiences," Discovery Direct-to-Consumer Head - APAC Issac John told PTI.

While he did not comment on number of users, John said the average age group of its audience in the country is 26-35 years, and 55% of users come from the top eight cities.

He said Discovery+ will launch a slew of originals starting from Dec. 9, 2020 including shows such as Mission Frontline (featuring Rana Daggubati); Ladakh Warriors: The Sons of the Soil (narrated in Hindi by Randeep Hooda); and Secrets of Sinauli: Discovery of the Century (presented by Neeraj Pandey along with Manoj Bajpayee as the host).

Also read: Disney+ Booms in India, Where Subscribers Pay $20 a Year or Less

Along with India-produced originals, Discovery+ will also be launching other Indian titles including shows such as Amma & Appa, The Indian Dream Hotel, The Ganges with Sue Perkins and Aerial India.

Besides, starting Dec. 15, the app is introducing six new LIVE feeds of Discovery Network including Dkids, HGTV, Food Network HD, Travel Channel HD, DMAX HD, Eurosport HD along with existing feeds from channels like Discovery HD, Animal Planet HD and others.

"Within the first half of 2021, Discovery+ will have the largest-ever content offering in the real-life entertainment and learning space with a wide range of more than 200 new and exclusive (local and global) titles to further strengthen our content offerings," he said.

John said the Indian originals have been specially produced for heartland audiences, and reflect particular needs of the consumers who seek to be both entertained and informed.

Discovery+ app, which charges Rs 299 per annum, offers content in eight languages in India including Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali and Marathi.

"...we will look to actually take some of these Indian talents and really expose them on a global platform...come 2021, every content that we make, our Indian talent and our Indian shows will actually get a global audience. So if there is a U.S. consumer who's an Indian, and is accessing the U.S. app, he will actually get to watch these shows," he said.

Also read: Netflix Plans to Double Spending on Original Content in Asia

Over the top players like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+Hotstar have seen massive growth in the past few years on the back of cheap data tariffs and availability of affordable smartphones.

The pandemic-induced lockdown further accelerated the consumption of services like online video and music streaming in the country.

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