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Discovery+ Brings a Unique Flavor to OTT—Which Advertisers are Taking a Bite?

Discovery+ Brings a Unique Flavor to OTT—Which Advertisers are Taking a Bite?

In January 2021, the world’s largest collection of non-fiction content became available to the masses. Discovery+ was here. 

Since then, Discovery+ has attracted a respectable audience, surpassing 20 million paid subscribers by the third quarter of 2021, which exceeded internal targets. To help propel it to this point, Discovery+ launched a partnership with Verizon that gave select customers 12 months of Discovery+ for free. 

Like most new streaming platforms, Discovery+ is built on an ad-supported model. On launch day, advertising partners included Kraft Heinz, Lowe’s and Toyota

But has this initial growth and interest from big brands been enough to lure other advertisers to Discovery+?

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Discovery+ Woos Consumers with the World’s Best Real-life Entertainment Offering

Discovery+ boasts more than 60,000 episodes from Discovery’s iconic brands, like HGTV, Food Network, TLC, plus the BBC’s Natural History collection and A&E Networks’ Group Nine. 

Discovery also announced that the platform would be the new streaming home of the Olympic Games in Europe and Eurosport’s premium sports offering. Discovery+ would also include content from the Magnolia Network, the next adventure in the life of the widely popular HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines. 

“With Discovery+, we are seizing the global opportunity to be the world’s definitive product for unscripted storytelling, providing households and mobile consumers a distinct, clear and differentiated offering across valuable and enduring lifestyle and real-life verticals,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery, Inc.

What Does Discovery+ Promise Brands? 

Given the growing popularity of OTT advertising—OTT ad revenue increased by more than 1265% between 2010 and 2019—there was no doubt that Discovery+ would fight for some market share. But how would it attract advertisers away from more established streaming platforms? 

The answer: “A suite of streaming advertising solutions that provide interactive, advanced advertising products that drive engagement, reach younger demographics and amplify advertisers’ messages across the company’s streaming platforms.” 

This suite consists of eight different types of ad products: 

  • Green-Light ads
  • High-Light ads
  • Lime-Light ads
  • Stop-Light ads
  • Showcase ads
  • Spot-Lite ads
  • Marquee Collections
  • Search-Light ads

As an added benefit, advertisers can access OneGraph, a tool that can help them connect the dots across all of Discovery’s linear and digital platforms. 

MediaRadar Insights on Discovery+

Since MediaRadar began tracking* Discovery+ advertising on August 1, 2021, the platform has had more than 540 advertisers, growing at an average monthly rate of 15%. 

Since data collection began, advertisers have spent approximately $29 million on ads, putting it as the lowest-earning platform in terms of ad revenue. 

Discovery+ Top Categories, August 1, 2021 - December 31, 2021 Chart

Though Discovery+ brings in less revenue than competitors, the company is strong at bringing in revenue from certain industries—especially Retail and Food. 

Retailers dominate the platform’s inventory, with 22% of all of 2021 Discovery+ advertising coming from companies like T.J. Maxx. This is more than 2x more than any other channel.

Additionally, Discovery+ sells 5x more Food advertising than the 4 other major ad-supported OTT platforms we reviewed. It is the only platform where Food makes the one of the top five categories.  Food products range from cereal to soup.

Discovery+ Ad Dollars and Brands are Increasing

Of the 211 brands advertising on Discovery+ in December 2021, 80% of them (168 brands) weren’t advertising when tracking began in August, indicating that Discovery+ is catching the attention of more brands.

In December 2021, MediaRadar observed that the platform had a 90% month-over-month increase in ad dollars.

Digging into December’s Top 5 categories, we found that:

  • Food rose to 10% of the month’s ad buys.
  • Retail still reigned at 22%.
  • Media settled in at 11%.
  • Restaurants and Tech both made up 9%.

Top Advertisers on Discovery+:

  • Kraft Heinz Company showcases some of its brands such as Kraft Mac & Cheese, Grey Poupon and Lea & Perrins. 
  • TJX Companies advertise some of its brands like Marshall’s, Homegoods and T.J. Maxx. 

Discovery+ Ad Analysis:

Ads Per ShowAds per Hour

Discovery+ is in the mid-range of ad loads compared to other OTT platforms. This could result from the “Spot-Lite Ads” rewarding binge viewers with reduced ads or “Lime-Light Ads,” which are limited commercial interruption offered as part of the platform’s streaming advertising products.

Discovery+ has an almost perfect split between 15- and 30-second ad spots.

Are Discovery+ Ads a Smart Buy in 2022?

When advertisers think of OTT, many tend to steer toward Hulu because of its large addressable audience and proven advertising capabilities.

So, is a newcomer like Discovery+ worth the ad dollars?

To get to this answer, we must look at the OTT landscape from two angles: its current and future state. Right now, OTT is popular among consumers; however, that hasn’t translated to more ad dollars, especially from smaller brands that don’t have large budgets to spend on newer ad ecosystems. In fact, OTT only accounts for 3% of all digital ad spend.

For brands, this means there’s an opportunity to make the first move. This is especially true for Discovery+, which had the second fewest advertisers (542) during our tracking period (only HBO Max had less with 414). 

In addition to less competition, the low ad load creates a better experience for consumers, which could make them more receptive to ads and more likely to engage.  

Overall, allocating ad dollars to Discovery+ in 2022 could make a lot of sense. We know that the platform’s unique content already attracts 173 million consumers per month. 

But with the upcoming merger with HBO’s owner WarnerMedia (owned by AT&T), the media industry is expecting a massive change in the ad-supported OTT ecosystem. The new bundle will provide an even greater opportunity for advertisers as soon as April

More advertisers will undoubtedly invest in the platform—does it make sense for you to shift some of your budget before your competitors do?

See where your competitors are spending, how much and what creative they’re using. Use these insights to build your next campaign strategy. Discovery+ might be at the top of your list. 

Stay tuned for our OTT Trend Report coming out soon to give you more insights on the streaming market.

*A Note on Methodology: Overall, MediaRadar’s data covers both standalone streaming platforms and TV Anywhere viewing from top linear networks. Standalone streaming services are sampled from the ad-supported streaming packages, across profiles in the 18-34 and 35-49 TV demos.