Discovery Lands Nine Networks on YouTube TV

Live and on-demand programming to launch Thursday
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Discovery said it reached an agreement with YouTube that will put nine of Discovery’s networks on the YouTube TV virtual MVPD streaming subscription service.

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YouTube TV will launch Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, Investigation Discovery, Animal Planet, Travel Channel and MotorTrend on Thursday. OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network will launch by year end.

YouTube TV announced it was raising its monthly price by about $10 to $49.99. It is also adding content from Epix.

Programmers without broadcast network retransmission consent or big sports franchises like Discovery have been scrambling to have their networks included in the skinny bundles offered by streaming distributors. These virtual MVPDs have been growing as more people cut the core with traditional satellite and cable TV.

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“We are proud to partner with YouTube to deliver our beloved networks, talent and programming to YouTube TV subscribers,” said Eric Phillips, president of affiliate distribution at Discovery. “This agreement highlights how much viewers love our brands and the high value that passion has in the marketplace, and underscores YouTube TV’s commitment to offering high-quality programming to subscribers.”

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal boosted Discovery's stock. Discovery shares were up more than 6% on the day. 

"This provides further confidence in our thesis for accelerating affiliate revenue in 2019," said Credit Suisse analyst Doug Mitchelson in a research note. 

“We’re thrilled to add the Discovery channels to YouTube TV, which has been a key ask from our subscribers,” said Lori Conkling, global head of partnerships for YouTube TV. “We launched YouTube TV to showcase the best of live TV through a simple and modern experience. Today’s announcement delivers on that promise as we continue to build a new way to experience your favorite TV shows.” 

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