Discovery is launching a premium subscription streaming service in Italy, where it is the country’s third-largest free-to-air commercial broadcaster.
The new SVOD service is being described as complementary to Discovery Italia’s existing ad-based video-on-demand service called Dplay, which is nearly four years old. Dplay includes content from its eight free-to-air channels, including Real Time, Dmax, Nove, Giallo, Food Network, K2 and Frisbee, and reaches 2 million unique Italian viewers each month, Discovery says.
The announcement of its new Dplay Plus service in Italy follows Discovery’s launch of a premium subscription streamer in the Netherlands in February and of its global content partnership with the BBC (excluding U.K., Ireland and Greater China) for high-end natural history content that will play on a new global Discovery factual streaming service set for launch by 2020.
Dplay Plus will become available in Italy on Tuesday and offer brands such as Discovery Channel, Discovery Science, and Animal Planet – some of which are also available in Italy on Sky – as well as some ad-free premieres of its Italian originals and box sets of TV series, including “Deadliest Catch,” “Gold Rush” and “Houdini’s Last Secrets.”
Discovery EMEA President and Managing Director Kasia Kieli said in a statement that the premium service will build “on the success of our existing player in Italy…giving viewers access to high-quality content, whenever and wherever they want it.”
Discovery Italia Managing Director Alessandro Araimo called the launch of Dplay Plus a further indication of Discovery’s willingness to “continue investing in Italy.”
In recent years Discovery has steadily expanded its footprint in Italy’s terrestrial TV landscape, where its eight channels in 2018 commanded a 6.8% average audience share, driven by political standup comedy show “Fratelli di Crozza” and by “Bake Off Italia.”
Last year Discovery partnered with the U.K.’s Channel 4 to launch drama series streaming service Walter Presents in Italy on its Nove and Giallo linear channels and on Dplay.