Q. I know you say that we still have our Discovery channels after Discovery Plus started. But I know that some shows aren’t available on Discovery anymore because they put them on Discovery Plus. That’s not fair. We pay good money to Comcast for those channels and we should get all the shows we got before. They are also doing new shows with our favorite stars from Discovery and we can’t watch them unless we pay for Discovery Plus! How can they do this to us? — Stella, Dunkirk, Maryland.
Stella, Discovery+, which launched January 4, is a new streaming service that offers programming from Discovery-owned channels such as HGTV, the Food Network, TLC, ID, Animal Planet, and the Discovery Channel itself. The cost is $4.99 a month with ads and $6.99 for an ad-free edition.
Since it launched, I have received several e-mails from readers saying that Discovery is removing certain shows that were previously available on the Discovery channels and putting them on Discovery+. Similar comments can be found on pay TV community forums and social media sites. The upset viewers say Discovery is trying to force them to add Discovery+ to their already significant monthly pay TV bill to continue watching those shows.
“Why is ‘exclusive original’ programming available ONLY on the Discovery + stream service?” one Comcast subscriber wrote on the Xfinity community forum. “I pay for Discovery channel. You’re shutting us out and asking us to pay more and get episodes we already have been following for years. You are unfair, Discovery+. Especially during this time when people are watching their income tightly. Shame on you.”
“All new episodes of their shows are going to be Discovery+ exclusives. They will no longer air new original content on their channels,” added another cable TV subscriber in the forum.
“We r losing our shows to Discovery+ I already pay $300 a month, y would I want to pay more for a program that I am already watching and paying for. I think I pay plenty enough,” added another Comcast subscriber.
“Yes, I first noticed this when they put an old series Restaurant: Impossible on Discovery+ exclusively. This, and all those other shows were not announced as Discovery+ exclusives until the last minute when the app was launched. Discovery says that they consider cable subscribers an important source of revenue, but it doesn’t look like it,” said one more cable subscriber in that forum.
Discovery officials have acknowledged that they are launching new shows on Discovery+ that feature personalities and topics found on Discovery-owned networks. But are they removing existing shows and/or episodes from the channels and making them Discovery+ exclusives to entice people to subscribe?
If so, I could understand why pay TV subscribers would cry foul; they’ve been paying to get those shows in their cable and satellite subscriptions.
During my search in viewer forums, and in the e-mails I’ve received, I couldn’t find much evidence of specific shows being mentioned as being removed from the Discovery live channel lineup, or its On Demand catalog. However, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened so I asked Discovery’s communications department if Discovery+ is taking shows or episodes away from Discovery.
Oddly, a Discovery spokesperson seemed to dodge the question:
“We are experimenting with some show premieres on Discovery+ during a brief window during the service’s launch,” Discovery’s Cara Brugnoli said yesterday via e-mail. “That said, we remain committed to serving our pay-TV fans with the shows and talent they love and value. The vast majority of Discovery content premieres on linear, with current seasons largely exclusive to our traditional pay-TV offering.”
That didn’t exactly answer my question so I responded immediately via e-mail:
“But are some shows no longer available on Discovery channels because they have been moved to Discovery+?”
She did not respond. I asked her again via e-mail this morning. She has not responded as of 3 p.m. ET today.
They would seem to confirm that, at least, new episodes of long-running Discovery channel shows are playing first on Discovery+. It’s still unclear if past episodes, or entire seasons, have been removed from the pay TV Discovery and added to Discovery+.
The TV Answer Man will continue to investigate whether shows are being removed and will report back here if we get more information, or a new response from Cara Brugnoli.
Until then, Stella, happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann