Discovery racked up subscription numbers during the opening week of the ongoing Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, the company has revealed. Eight times more viewers are streaming Olympic content on Discovery’s streaming services compared to the same period for Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018, with total new paid subscribers already surpassing 2018 with a week of competition still to go. Three-quarters of a billion streaming minutes have been consumed on Discovery’s subscription services so far, more than 18 times higher than the same period of PyeongChang 2018. Average minutes consumed per viewer across Discovery Plus and Eurosport streaming services has more than doubled, with audiences also n average watching 29% longer on television vs PyeongChang 2018. Discovery’s free Olympic news and short video clips on Eurosport.com have also more than doubled their reach. On the linear TV front, Eurosport audiences have maintained 2018 levels.
Jean-Briac Perrette, president and CEO, Discovery streaming and International, said: “The Olympics are off to a strong start across all our platforms, with Discovery Plus at the forefront of this early success as the growth of our streaming service continues to significantly outperform. It is also reaffirming the power and value of integrating sports into our discovery+ entertainment service. As well as attracting a significant number of new Discovery Plus subscribers, sports broadens its appeal throughout the whole household and provides consumers an even greater, more retentive value proposition.”
Meanwhile, streaming service Lionsgate Play is launching its second Indian-produced original series “Jugaadistan.” The series positions itself as a gritty look at life on a university campus that is tonally different from India’s traditionally rose-tinted college dramas. The series is directed by Akarsh Khurana and Adhaar Khurana. Its cast includes Sumeet Vyas, Arjun Mathur, Parambrata Chatterjee, Rukshar Dhillon, Taaruk Raina, Gopal Datt and Ahsaas Channa. “Jugaadistan” will stream on Lionsgate Play from March 4, 2022. The company’s first Indian original was Hindi-language show “Hiccups and Hookups” from show runner Kunal Kohli (“Fanaa”), which bowed in November. – Patrick Frater
U.K.-based factual and scripted distributor Hat Trick International has sold ITV’s “D.I. Ray,” the latest thriller from Jed Mercurio’s HTM Television, to SBS Australia, VRT Belgium and NPO Netherlands. The four-part crime drama created and written by former “Line of Duty” actor Maya Sondhi, is set in Birmingham and centres on Rachita Ray, a Leicester-born police officer who takes on a case that forces her to confront a lifelong personal conflict between her British identity and her South Asian heritage. Parminder Nagra (“ER”) has been cast in the title role and starring alongside are Gemma Whelan (“Gentleman Jack”) and Jamie Bamber (“Marcella”).
Mercurio will executive produce the series with Jimmy Mulville (“Trigger Point”) and Madonna Baptiste (“The Stranger”).
Meanwhile, Beyond Rights has sold Queen Elizabeth II focused eight-part documentary series “Elizabeth” to the Smithsonian Channel. The Weather Channel has acquired reality titles “Lords of the Sea,” season 10 of “Highway Thru Hell” and season six of “Heavy Rescue.” Blue Ant Media has taken “World’s Scariest Hauntings” for its new Haunt TV channels in Canada and the U.S. and has also taken several true crime catalogue titles. In addition, separate deals have been negotiated with Blue Ant Media for seasons of popular engineering titles “Massive Engineering Mistakes” and “Abandoned Engineering” for its Cottage Life channel, and lifestyle titles “All for One with Debbie Travis,” “Building La Dolce Vita,””Moving the McGillivrays,” “Love It Or List It: Brilliant Builds,” “Love It Or List It U.K.” and “Love It Or List It Australia.”
“EarthxTV,” the environmentally focused streaming service, has acquired “Aussie Snake Wranglers,” “Saved and Remade” and season four of “Money for Nothing” and BYU in the U.S. has picked up season three of “Gym Stars.” Sherry Fynbo, Beyond Rights’ executive VP sales for North America was responsible for negotiating each of the deals.