Discovery Plus, India’s first aggregated real-life entertainment streaming app, is now also available on Amazon Fire TV. Within a week of the launch on Amazon Fire TV, Discovery Plus proved its mettle in the living room screen experience by netting an impressive 41.3 minutes per subscriber* per day.
Discovery Plus, emphasizing the big-screen delight experience, launched a new marketing campaign that will run across all 14 Discovery network channels as well as on all key digital platforms. Discovery Plus is also amplifying spends on performance marketing to ensure that all enthusiasts are aware of new platforms debut on Amazon Fire TV.
Medianews4u spoke to Issac John, Business Head – Digital (South Asia), Discovery, on the launch and their campaign.
One of the foremost demands put forth by ardent fans of Discovery+ has been met with the launch of our app on Fire TV. Our tremendous engagement on FireTV bears testament to that. Besides the convenience of consuming the largest repository of premium real-life entertainment content across devices, our audiences have loved the experience of watching Discovery+ on big screen and that is what this launch on Fire TV allows us to provide. Our marketing campaign too builds on this simple, yet critical insight. We went with a very simple thought that something like Discovery+, their enjoyment increases and it enhances the experience and I think that is when we came up with this campaign. That was the original thought, I would say it was almost like user-generated in a manner, and if you see in your initial reviews from March – April, they will say I want to watch it on the big screen and I have not seen this in a while.
What has been the feedback?
Now I see some really strong feedback coming through in terms of our adoption signals. Let me give you a metric, for example the time spent on FireTV is 2.4X than that of our mobile screen users. What we have been able to establish is that our engagement with the users is much higher on the FireTV than it is on some of the other platforms so that is an interesting metric.
The other thing that we have done is we are also launching Android TV next week, so even if you don’t have a FireTV but if you have an Android TV set, you will be able to search for Discovery+ as an app on the Android TV app ecosystem. I think that is going to be a pretty big launch, and we are working very closely with our ecosystem partners like FireTV and Android TV to essentially bring home, there are very few apps in India which can actually command this kind of a big-screen experience to their advantage and we essentially want to use those partnerships very strategically to make a dent.
How has Discovery been performing especially during this lockdown period?
We launched during the lockdown, a lot of apps give references of how their performance was before the lockdown and after the lockdown and in our case we had a lockdown baby, and we went ahead and launched the app. We are actually seeing tremendous positive signals and I think towards that rather than me talking about it, I will actually show you something which is coming from consumers directly, and it is essentially like a smattering of what users are really saying about us and I think the user love has come our way in terms of rating, reviews, comments and it is extremely overwhelming and the one thing you remember we were saying back then that Discovery+ would be a differentiated OTT platform but it was still like a brand telling to consumers.
But what has happened in the last few months is that a whole host of consumers have said that this is actually the best thing that can happen for my family and I can watch this with my kids. This is a good use of my time, it is inspirational, powerful and typically, these are not words that you would associate with the OTT platform. I think what we have been able to do is really sort of elevate the conversation from shows and launching of shows, Season One is coming now Season two is coming now etc. We are decoupled from all of that and I think that speaks a lot for the brand of Discovery and the fact that everybody wants something that they can just learn from instantly and it comes from a trusted source, I think that is a big difference and that is what consumers are telling us.
Are you seeing a spike in all your platforms or specific genres?
Our traditional strengths are primarily in genres as adventure for example, that is doing really well, there are particular 2 genres which has really surprised us, one is Science and the second is Auto. Science is actually getting a lot of viewers, shows like ‘How the universe works’ for example is actually the number one show on our platform and people come to us and ask us as to when is the next season, can you give us more seasons of this. Apart from that there are some of these specials which comes so for example right now, NASA just spent with SpaceX and we did a two-hour special on that particular event, launched it as a weekly, in fact for all of June that was the number one show. I think science is actually propping up as a really big one and I think it also goes back to how people see us as a learning platform so that when they come on the platform they really want to watch something which just blows their mind away right and thankfully we have got a lot of that.
Adventure as usual has been our core strength shows like Expedition Unknown and Bear Grylls and I think those are the variables and IPS that are doing well. The other one which could, which may or might not be a long down effect but again we don’t know is essentially food. So shows like, ‘The Best Baker’ and Jamie Oliver’s Quick and Easy recipes, you will not believe a friend who has not spoken to you in years and we have some of those friends and he just texted me out of the blue saying that I have seen the show and I made three dishes in the last three weeks and have become like a hero in my wife’s eyes because of the show, so Jamie Oliver’s show just says that five simple ingredients that make quick and easy recipes. I think that would be the stacking order, I would say Science, Adventure and Food and we have Mind Blown which caters to 8 – 14 year-olds and it is doing really well and it does a lot of science content, so in a way that is sort of captured in the science, but in Mind Blown we essentially have collections of topics and themes like Mission Moon, Collection of Elephants and I think we are definitely bringing a lot to the table as far as adventure, science, auto and as I mentioned food.
In fact, the other interesting thing that has come through recently, as there is also a little bit about the future of Discovery+. Traditionally what I spoke about; we have always had a learning vector, which had brands like Animal Planet, Discovery Science Turbo and what is happening is that this vertical is becoming stronger because we are adding BBC to the mix, very soon in a months’ time we will actually be launching a few of the BBC shows and along with that, what is happening on the right-hand side there are these Passion verticals that have come across. I can speak to two of them, Auto shows, for example, are doing really well and Investigation as a category, a lot of our content essentially internet crimes, disappearances that have happened. I mean, that kind of content is giving us a lot of time spent, I think that going forward there will be a learning vertical which is getting stronger and then there will be this passion vertical sector which will be driven by categories like Food, Home and Garden, Lifestyle, Motor Trend, and more stuff like that.
Are you seeing your subscription revenues going up?
I would say that we are very happy with the pace of our direct subscriptions and we are taking a very aggressive view of the India market. I think we have unlocked something that is pretty unique as a product, there are so many entertainment apps that you can have on your phone, but there is only one trustworthy app that you will want to learn from your phone so in that category there is no competition so I think towards that end we are fortunate that we are able to build that consumer proposition for the viewer. We are very excited and there will be some very interesting announcement that we will be making very soon in about to 3/4 weeks.
How was this campaign strategized?
Our creative agency is Taproot and I think they have done a fantastic job and cracked this insight. So Discovery+ is a differentiated product, I mean, the way we sort of look at the problem is what are the different ways in which we can say that Discovery+ is a different product and that is where the creative communication became interesting and we said that if it is a differentiated product with interesting stuff what happens if you watch interesting stuff, you are able to think of interesting things and if you know of interesting things what can it lead to.
I think it was more like a domino effect of one product proposition, leading to the differentiation, leading to the functional benefit and finally leading to the emotional benefits. It was crafted over a period of I would say about two to three months, I think it took us 12 weeks from start to finish. We put a lot of consumer insight into it and a couple of key people were involved like Ayesha, Pallavi from Taproot and including me, Megha, Moushmi was there and we really kept sort of tightening and questioning it further and then we came up with the tagline ‘App interesting toh App interesting.’ That is a very powerful thing and even in the commercial I think it is a very real-life situation and the trivia that he gives is by the way from a Discovery show, called ‘How stuff is made’ but essentially this was a very real situation and we are saying that if you watch Discovery and it is a product that can actually help you in the big moments in life, like your job interview, kids admission and so that is the route that we have taken.
You started off with an Amazon FireStick, what is Amazon going to add as a partner?
If you look at the eco system Amazon FireStick is a product which lot of us use and a lot of our consumers use it and it came across as a device which has been growing consistently in adoption and that’s why we started to strategized and work with them very closely and what was unique about them is that they saw the value of Discovery being a differentiated product and essentially it was a marketing tie-up as you can see we used the FireTv remote and highlighting the fact that it was more of a FireTV partnership.
We actually had full big screen exclusivity for a period of four weeks, when we launched on June 4th with them and July 4th is where we are, they have the first window to that big screen and that is something that we did uniquely for FireTV. There are a couple of more tie-ups that we will announce soon. In fact, FireTV partnership is deepening and going to deepen even further and in this particular month we will have a joint announcement to make very soon and secondly, there will be a couple of more interesting tie-ups that we will announce very soon as well.
How was this initiative marketed?
Essentially the beauty in today’s time is that in the Google and Facebook ecosystem, you can clearly identify who the connected TV viewers were, essentially we reached out to those people on digital obviously, we also actually went to our core Discovery audience and spoken to them. There is a fair bit of PR around it and I think Amazon went out of its way to actually market us on their social media channels through their PR newsroom channel. This was a pretty deep co-marketing partnership.
Did you see a spike in television that is why you did it?
Yes, that was one of the main reasons and I think we are big believers in TV as an ecosystem and we have added value to a lot of partners with our network of channels. We always knew the power of TV, but we just felt that our adoption can accelerate in this particular time because almost every channel was seeing a 20-30% increase in viewership. We did a cross-genre campaign we had GEC’s, News, Movies and we obviously had our network channels. That was one of the key drivers and the TV viewership was actually in a good space.