Discovery and the BBC join forces to become ‘the Netflix of nature’

Discovery and the BBC join for a 10-year streaming partnership focused on nature, hoping that niche streaming can compete against generalist


April 3, 2019

Earlier this week, Discovery and the BBC announced a 10-year, multimillion-dollar streaming partnership that will bring together TV content from the 2 companies on 1 new streaming platform.

Unlike Netflix, Amazon, and Apple, Discovery doesn’t want to be a content colossus that blots out the sun — it just wants to make educational shows about snow leopards, sharks, and fishermen that will appeal to hardcore Discover-ers.

Education over domination

While Netflix spends billions on the best of everything, Discovery is instead going niche.

“The goal is [to] make the super fan so happy,” Discovery’s D2C chief Peter Faricy told Axios. “We’ll look all over the world for who has the best… type of content consumers are enthusiastic about, and that’s what we’ll go build a service around.”

Discovery has built up a global catalog of small streaming services: Motor Trend in the US, GolfTV in Asia, Eurosport Player in Europe. Now Discovery wants to build out nature-focused content.

A natural fit 

The BBC’s wildly popular nature programming — Planet Earth, Life, Blue Planet — fits perfectly with existing Discovery Channel classics like Shark Week, Man vs. Wild, and Storm Chasers.

The Discovery-BBC partnership will feature more than 50% fact-based programming, and Discovery hopes to turn its nature-based content into one of its several lifestyle content brands.

“From the planets to the poles… the world has always been part of Discovery’s DNA,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav said in a statement. “The new platform will be the first global direct-to-consumer service with the category’s most iconic IP.”

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