Q. I’ve been reading your stories on how Discovery has taken our favorite shows and made them exclusives on Discovery+ which I think is really unfair to their loyal viewers. I know they won’t tell you if they are coming back, but do you think they will come back? If so, when do you think they will come back? We really miss the real estate guys and the Pimple Popper shows. — Judy, Raleigh, North Carolina.
Judy, Discovery has decided to offer new episodes of several popular Discovery-branded shows as Discovery+ exclusives. The move is designed to attract new subscribers to the streaming service, but ‘old’ subscribers to Discovery-owned channels on cable and satellite are crying foul, saying the company is forcing them to pay more money to continue watching their favorites. (Discovery+’s plans start at $4.99 a month.)
Since Discovery+ launched on January 4, the service has been the exclusive home of new episodes of several shows that have built strong followings on channels such as Discovery, HGTV, the Travel Channel, the Food Network and TLC. The shows that now air their new episodes on the streaming service includes Dr. Pimple Popper, Property Brothers: Forever Home, Ghost Adventures, and Paranormal: Caught On Camera, among several others.
In early January, soon after the launch, I asked the network’s media team if shows would be moved to Discovery+ and a spokesperson would only say, “We are experimenting with some show premieres on Discovery+ during a brief window during the service’s launch.”
Since then, I have asked Discovery — twice — if the new episodes will ever air on the Discovery-owned channels on cable and satellite. They have not responded to my inquiries.
I believe Discovery will eventually air the new episodes of Dr. Pimple Popper and other popular shows on cable and satellite. However, I think I know why it doesn’t want to say that now.
If Discovery says, for instance, that the new episodes will be available on cable and satellite in April, Discovery’s viewers might just wait until then instead of subscribing to Discovery+. By keeping quiet, Discovery is leaving open the possibility that they will never air on anything but Discovery+, which could boost streaming subscriptions at a time when the company is investing heavily on building that audience.
But, in my opinion, it’s unlikely that Discovery will ‘black out’ its pay TV channels much longer. If they did, it would diminish their value, which would lead to cable and satellite operators ultimately deciding not to carry them. And that would lead to a significant revenue loss.
So, Judy, if you don’t want to subscribe to Discovery+, but you do want to see new episodes of your favorite shows, I would advocate patience. I can’t say when it will happen, but eventually the new episodes will find their way to your cable or satellite box.
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann