In January 2021, the world’s largest collection of non-fiction content became available to the masses with the launch of streaming platform Discovery+. Since then, the service has attracted a respectable audience, surpassing 20 million paid subscribers by the third quarter of 2021, which exceeded internal targets.
Like most new streaming platforms, Discovery+ is built on an ad-supported model. On launch day, advertising partners included Kraft Heinz, Lowe’s and Toyota. In its latest report, MediaRadar analyzed if this initial growth and interest from big brands has been enough to lure other advertisers to Discovery+.
Since MediaRadar began tracking Discovery+ advertising on August 1, 2021, the platform has had more than 540 advertisers, growing at an average monthly rate of 15%. Since data collection began, advertisers have spent approximately $29 million on ads, putting it as the lowest-earning platform in terms of ad revenue.
Though Discovery+ brings in less revenue than competitors, the company is strong at bringing in revenue from certain industries—especially Retail and Food. Retailers dominate the platform’s inventory, with 22% of all of 2021 Discovery+ advertising coming from companies like T.J. Maxx. This is more than 2x more than any other channel.
Additionally, Discovery+ sells 5x more Food advertising than the four other major ad-supported OTT platforms MediaRadar reviewed. It is the only platform where Food makes the one of the top five categories. Food products range from cereal to soup.
Furthermore, of the 211 brands advertising on Discovery+ in December 2021, 80% of them (168 brands) were not advertising when tracking began in August, indicating that Discovery+ is catching the attention of more brands.
In December 2021, MediaRadar observed that the platform had a 90% month-over-month increase in ad dollars. At the same time, digging into December’s Top 5 categories, the researcher found that: Food rose to 10% of the month’s ad buys, Retail still reigned at 22%, Media settled in at 11%, Restaurants, and Tech both made up 9%.
Moreover, Discovery+ is in the mid-range of ad loads compared to other OTT platforms. This could result from the “Spot-Lite Ads” rewarding binge viewers with reduced ads or “Lime-Light Ads,” which are limited commercial interruption offered as part of the platform’s streaming advertising products.
“Overall, allocating ad dollars to Discovery+ in 2022 could make a lot of sense. We know that the platform’s unique content already attracts 173 million consumers per month. But with the upcoming merger with HBO’s owner WarnerMedia (owned by AT&T), the media industry is expecting a massive change in the ad-supported OTT ecosystem. The new bundle will provide an even greater opportunity for advertisers as soon as April,” MediaRadar said.