Discovery joins UK streaming wars with ad-funded app

Dplay launches today in UK and Ireland.

Dplay: available on Apple and Android devices
Dplay: available on Apple and Android devices

Discovery is today launching Dplay, a real-life entertainment streaming service that will be supported by advertising, in the UK and Ireland.

The offering, avaiable as an app for mobile devices, will feature content from Discovery's free-to-air channels including Quest, Food Network and Home. 

Dozens of series are also availble to "binge-watch" as box sets, including highlights from the English Football League, Quest Red's Katie Price: My Crazy Life and Food Network's Tom Kerridge's American Feast

The move brings the roll-out of Dplay to 10 markets, with more to be added in the near future, Discovery said. Dplay will be available on partner platforms and launch on additional devices and platforms in the first half of 2020.

James Gibbons, executive vice-president, general manager, for UK, Ireland and Australia/New Zealand at Discovery UK, said: "We have nearly doubled the size of our UK audience in the last two years – and increased our free-to-air scale from two to six channels.

"The launch of Dplay is the next step in our strategy to deliver to British audiences the best real-life entertainment, whenever and wherever they want it. The free streaming service will also increase opportunities for advertisers to engage with audiences across multiple platforms."

Almost half of UK households now have a subscription to a TV streaming service, according to this year's Media Nations report by Ofcom. Meanwhile, traditional TV viewing is falling at a "slightly accelerating rate" by nine minutes in 2017 and 11 minutes in 2018. Ofcom said that viewers watch 50 minutes less traditional TV a day than in 2010.

While Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are the most popular paid-for streaming services, the market is set to be disrupted in the next year with the arrival of BritBox, the BBC and ITV's ad-free joint venture, as well as Disney+, Apple TV+ and Peacock, from Sky's Comcast stablemate NBC. 

YouTube viewing, meanwhile, was up six minutes to 34 minutes per day last year, according to Ofcom, and up to 64 minutes for young people.

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