The two companies are merging 7TV, which is a joint venture between Discovery and ProSiebenSat.1, with the latter’s Maxdome and Discovery’s Eurosport Player. The move will create a broad digital service that offers a range of options from advertising-led catch-up services to SVOD premium pay tiers that include access to sports and Hollywood movies.
The two companies also revealed that they aim to create “bespoke” content for the service and “rapidly scale up and invest into the platform”. They are aiming for 10M users in the first two years and are building a team of more than 200 that will support the platform, which is set to launch in the first half of 2019. It is also inviting other German broadcasters, including ARD, ZDF and RTL to join forces, although the latter has previously stated that it is not interested in becoming part of a wider SVOD offering.
JB Perrette, President and CEO of Discovery Networks International told Deadline that it sees this as the “next evolution of the reinvention of television”. He added that making consumers go to a variety of different sites and services just fragments the market and called aggregation a powerful too. “It makes the ability to get scale harder and it allows the global competitors, who are doing that very well and creating one great experience, letting them run away with things,” he added.
Essentially, the move is designed to create a Hulu-style site that can be rolled out in other markets. “We think there’s room for a strong local OTT service and we think that’s true in Germany and eventually we think that’s true in every market,” he said.
The joint venture team in place is led by former Google and YouTube executive Alexandar Vassilev, while Max Conze, Chief Executive Officer of ProSiebenSat.1 will head the board of the joint venture and Perrette will represent Discovery on the board.
David Zaslav, President and Chief Executive Officer of Discovery, said; “This is an exciting next step in our strategy of reaching more viewers on more screens as the global leader in real life entertainment and international sports. Together with ProSiebenSat.1, we are building a world class streaming service to nourish superfans in one of our most important international markets while also creating a new model for the future for viewers to enjoy their favorite content.”
7TV CEO Vassilev said, “All our efforts are focused on understanding what viewers want and building the best, most user-friendly product for German audiences. We have a fast-growing team with experts from around the world and can’t wait to show our platform and services in the first half 2019.”
ProSiebenSat.1’s Conze added, “All of us want to watch the entertainment we love whenever, wherever and on any device – so I am really excited that ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery are joining forces to create the number one German streaming platform – our aim is 10 million users in the first two years and we are putting very significant resources and investment with urgency into this effort. I am inviting RTL and ARD/ ZDF to join us so we can have one German champion. This is just the start of the journey, now we roll up our sleeves.”
The agreement is subject to approval from authorities.