Q. I’ve read your stories about Discovery Plus stealing new episodes of our favorite shows from the Discovery channels. But you never say how we can get them back! The readers say we should write Discovery and complain, but will that really matter? Won’t they just do whatever they want to? — Gina, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Gina, 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.
Several upset Discovery viewers have asked me if it does any good to send e-mails or letters to Discovery asking for their shows to return. That’s a great question. Over the years, networks have renewed shows, or taken another action, after they received a large number of viewer complaints.
However, it doesn’t happen often.
Like any corporation, a network will stick to its plan unless it becomes obvious that it’s counter-productive. In this case, Discovery believes that premiering the new episodes on Discovery+ will generate new streaming subscribers without losing its longtime viewers of the Discovery channels found on cable and satellite. For the company to change, it would have to be convinced that the plan isn’t working.
What would convince them? Two things.
1. Discovery would have to receive a large outpouring of letters and e-mails, far more than normal.
2. Discovery’s ratings on cable and satellite would have to decline, and the company would have to conclude it’s because fewer people are watching because they are angry over losing the new episodes.
Unless both happen, Discovery will stay the course.
The good news here is that I think Discovery will eventually air the new episodes on the cable/satellite Discovery channels, and probably in the next few months. Discovery realizes that the longer it waits, the more likely it will lose viewership on cable and satellite.
But we don’t know that for sure. When I asked Discovery via e-mail (twice) if the shows will return, they did not respond.
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— Phillip Swann