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‘Discovery+ will change Eurosport’s rights acquisition strategy’, says Andrew Georgiou

President of pan-European broadcaster eyes broader sports offering with new OTT service.

3 December 2020 Tom Bassam

Getty Images

  • Eurosport Player and Dplay DTC services to be phased out
  • Olympics coverage to gain maximum exposure via Discovery+

The launch of Discovery’s new subscription streaming service, Discovery+, will change how the US media company approaches its sport content acquisitions, Eurosport president Andrew Georgiou has told SportsPro.

The introduction of the Discovery+ service will see the broadcaster’s existing direct-to-consumer (DTC) offerings, Eurosport Player and Dplay, begin to be phased out in the first group of territories ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.

Eurosport content will appear first on the new platform in markets where Discovery already offers live sport on Dplay, such as Denmark, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. 

In other markets, Eurosport Player will continue to operate as it does today until Discovery+ launches and Eurosport is introduced onto the service.

Discovery+ will house all of the company’s content – which sits largely in the factual entertainment sector – and while that means one less sports-specific DTC product on the market, Georgiou told SportsPro that folding Eurosport Player into Discovery+ will ultimately expand the proposition to rights holders.

“What Discovery+ allows us to do is to think more on a market-by-market basis about what sports assets and rights can help complement our platform in that market,” he said.

“One of the big opportunities that I see is that overlapping audience between more general entertainment, broader audience and the sports-specific audience. So being able to develop crossover content and really trying to unlock the power of sport between the more casual audience and core audience, that’s been challenging in the past and now it’s going to be more interesting. By that I mean things like the documentaries, behind-the-scenes, the deeper look at athletes – where more casual audiences are interested in that stuff as well.

“And I think leaning more into that kind of content will be really interesting on a Discovery+ platform as well as sports rights that might not naturally sit on a Eurosport platform but could sit specifically on a Discovery+ platform.”

Georgiou confirmed that Eurosport’s linear channels will remain unaffected, while Discovery’s GolfTV and Global Cycling Network will retain their identities.

Pricing for the US service has been set at USS$4.99 per month, or US$6.99 without advertising, but the cost in international markets has yet to be revealed.

Markets with a live sports offering will have varying pricing and packaging options, with JB Perrette, president and chief executive of Discovery International, confirming that will include an ad-free only approach in some markets. During the product presentation he said that Discovery+ will be offered as an “ad-lite” service in some markets or a smaller free service with ads – largely where Discovery owns free-to-air channels – in others.

The impact on the 50-territory broadcast partnership with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for rights to all Games until 2024 is that all of that live coverage will now live within Discovery+, again with a phased approach building towards universal coverage by Paris 2024.

Every feed from the Games will have a channel on Discovery+ and, whilst initially the focus will be on creating a solid video delivery platform, additional features being enjoyed by sports fans on other platforms will be introduced.

The launch of Discovery+ will change how Eurosport buy sports rights

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