We are going to double down on big screen partnerships: Issac John, Discovery Plus

Issac John
Issac John

Three months after launching their maiden campaign – ‘App Interesting TohAap Interesting’ – Discovery Plus has rolled out their second campaign ‘Big Screen’ to announce their partnership with Amazon Fire TV.

Discovery Plus has been listening to consumer feedback on the Google Playstore and Apple Store, says Issac John, Business Head – Digital (South Asia), Discovery. “People have come out and said why they love our app. Our users love us for real life entertainment content which is educational, informative and something that they can watch with their families.”

“Our first campaign plays into our marketing proposition that this app helps improve the viewers’ knowledge. The Discovery Plus app is not just to consume content, but there is also a purpose for consuming that content which makes you a more interesting person,” says John.

The smartphone is the primary device for OTT streaming and that’s why Discovery Plus app launched on Android, iOS and mobile web to target users. But a lot of users shared the feedback that they wanted to consume Discovery content on the big screen, observes John. “The product and tech team came back quickly and launched the app on two big screen platforms – Amazon Fire TV and Android TV.”

While the Android TV launch is yet to happen, Discovery Plus is now available on Amazon Fire TV and saw results within the first week of launch. Subscribers spent 41.3 minutes per day viewing premium content like ‘NASA and SpaceX: Journey To The Future’, ‘Carter’s War’, ‘Space Launch: America Returns To Space’, ‘How The Universe Works’ and ‘Expedition Asia with Ryan Pyle’, ‘Nature’s Strangest Mysteries Solved’, ‘Mythbusters’ and Season 10 of the very popular show ‘Gold Rush’ on their Fire TV devices.

John shares, “A month since launch and we’re actually seeing our time spent on Fire TV is 2.4X higher compared to consumption on mobile devices.”

To incentivise users to download the app and watch on Fire TV, they launched their premium series ‘Wild Karnataka’ exclusively for three weeks only for Fire TV users. As a result, their engagement on Fire TV shot through the roof, claims John.

The campaign to announce their partnership with Fire TV is a mix of TV and digital media. While the digital leg of the campaign has gone live on platforms like YouTube, the TV campaign will also go live soon.

John says, “We are running promos in our internal TV network that mention our mobile app as well as our availability on Fire TV. There will be another campaign targeted at connected TV users that will be launched very soon.”

Earlier, Discovery Plus app users had the option to Chromecast their mobile screens on to TVs to watch non-fiction content on the big screen. “India being an Android user market, we kept the casting option available to our users” says John. He adds, “However, platforms like Android TV and Fire TV make the experience more seamless. While the Chromecast option is still available, we have observed that customers prefer watching on Fire TV. Going forward, we are going to double down on big screen partnerships.”

Discovery Plus campaigns have differentiated from other OTT players from the brand perspective rather than from a content perspective. Based on their network of channels Discovery attracted two kinds of viewers – lifelong learners and passion groups.

Discovery Plus
Discovery Plus

John describes these segments, saying, “The traditional vector of lifelong learners comes on the back of strong brands such as Discovery Science. With content from partners like BBC coming in, we’ve strengthened our content on that front. The second vector where we’ve strengthened our offering is the passion community side. We have the widest breadth of Auto content with brands like ‘MotorTrend’ resting on the Discovery Plus platform. We launched the investigation genre a couple of months back and the shows under this category are showing a lot of promise. As we build this product, the content is going to be aimed towards lifelong learners and passion communities.”

By catering to these distinct segments, Discovery Plus app has been able to attract a high value user base. “70 per cent of our customers are male” shares John. He adds, “This can be attributed to the fact that India’s video streaming audience does tend to skew towards males.” What’s more interesting is that “Three out of four users on our platform have been online shoppers, which tells you about the quality of our users. Penetration of online shopping is nowhere close to 75 per cent.”

The platform was able to pull users with their short format videos and legacy shows which offer many hours of sample viewing. New shows and exclusive content are behind the paywall.


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