Winradit Kolasastraseni, General Manager at Dplay International, believes the streaming service from Discovery Inc, which comes in both ad-supported and subscription flavours, can become an aggregation point for other broadcasters in selected markets, so that it looks something like Hulu in the USA.
Discovery already participates in two streaming joint ventures with a multi-broadcaster model: Joyn in Germany (where the company works with ProSiebenSat.1, offering a service that includes a free ad-supported and subscription tier) and a forthcoming JV with Cyfrowy Polsat that will operate in Poland and international markets, starting with AVOD but with an ambition to add SVOD later.
Kolasastraseni believes the Nordics is now the epicentre of this Hulu-like aggregation strategy, however, following a deal with Telia that will see the channel content from TV4 and sports content from C More made available for OTT distribution via Dplay in Sweden. In terms of sport, it means Dplay will have access to the Olympics and Swedish football (already exclusive to Discovery) and now the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) and international football, licensed from Telia. A similar deal has been signed for Finland.
Speaking at Videoscape Europe this week, Kolasastraseni describes the expanding Dplay service in Sweden and Finland as an “uber-aggregation of local entertainment and sports content that can differentiate the service from global SVOD.”
Discovery confirmed its ambitions for Hulu-esque platforms when it announced the Cyfrowy Polsat joint venture last autumn, saying the new OTT service will give viewers a single destination to access the best of Polish content including movies, series, documentaries, sports and entertainment, with local productions supplied by TVN and Polsat, plus acquired content and also new series that are being commissioned specifically for the new entity. “The new platform will offer a different proposition to global OTT services and will be differentiated by more local characters and stories,” Discovery said at the time.
Kasia Kieli, President & CEO Discovery EMEA, said: “This new venture fits squarely into our international strategy and belief that local broadcasters need to better satisfy consumer demand by aggregating their offerings and developing a strong local, content-led streaming service – just as we did in Germany with Joyn.”
At the same announcement, Maciej Stec, Deputy President for Strategy at Cyfrowy Polsat, predicted that the “co-creating project” would become a real alternative to international OTTs and stressed that it is especially important that the project can take Polish content to international viewers, too.
As with Joyn in Germany, the participants in the Polish JV have noted that the platform will welcome other content providers.
Discovery has a sophisticated and nuanced digital strategy for Europe, shunning a one-size-fits-all model to instead build a portfolio that is tailored to local conditions and which leverages knowledge of each market, local content commissioning and local distribution partnerships. Dplay provides the means to build a digital subscription business in smaller markets where Discovery has a modest linear broadcast presence. In markets where it already has a strong broadcast Pay TV offering, the service is the foundation for any expansion of direct-to-consumer.
In some markets, as in Germany, a joint platform with local partners is the preferred route to market. There, there is no need for the Dplay brand. In Poland, Discovery is already online with Player.pl (owned by TVN Discovery Polska) and there are no current plans to change that.