Discovery Explores Bundling Streamers

Discovery Inc. may be looking to the “bundle” to give premium streaming subscribers greater happiness, however short-lived. It may be taking a page out of Disney's book.

Until this point, only Disney gave value to the “bundle” effort -- combining Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ -- for a modest $13.99 a month.

Discovery is hinting it could bundle Discovery+ with HBO Max -- possibly before the whole $43 billion merger is completed between Discovery Inc. and WarnerMedia.

David Zaslav, president-CEO of Discovery, partly supports this idea, with the fact that less than 50% of Discovery+ subscribers are also HBO Max subscribers.



The key for a bundle to work -- as per Disney -- is to offer lots of differentiation with content: Think about Disney+ as the place for big movies, selectively highly promoted new TV series, like “Wandavision,” and family/kids entertainment.

Hulu’s profile leans toward more library products -- as well as original TV shows, like “The Handmaid’s Tale.” ESPN+ extends this further with live and other sports content.

Does a Discovery-HBO Max combination look to offer the kind of disparate content for its bundle? Nonfiction TV content coming together with major movies and scripted TV shows -- possibly at a much lower cost than the Disney bundle.

So, yes, that would work. But is it enough?

HBO Max is $14.99/month, while Discovery+ is $4.99. Even at a discount, that might mean a higher monthly price than the Disney bundle.

Going back to what consumers feel comfortable with, right now, around 70% of U.S. TV households still have a pay TV bundle. How to lure those customers -- potential cord-cutters -- off the pay TV habit? Offer them similar but slimmed-down TV bundles, according to some analysts.

The trouble is, when looking at the performance of virtual pay TV providers -- those supposed next-gen pay TV bundles -- they haven’t set the world on fire.

It seems consumers can sniff out these aren’t always a great deal -- especially now that there are price increases that are near cable, satellite and telco package prices.

What’s the right approach? Keeping these streaming apps separate or bundling?

Media companies, to an extent, believe it is not an either-or decision. No matter. Flexibility in the streaming world -- including the ability to drop platforms instantly without penalty -- seems to be the rule.

A full meal or a la carte? The diet approach of the bundle might not fill the entertainment belly.

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