AT&T Inc. (T) renewed its distribution deal with Discovery Communications Inc. (DISCA), the American global mass media owner of The Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and the Oprah Winfrey Network, among others.
The agreement sees Discovery’s network available on all AT&T wireless TV, and AT&T’s DirecTV’s platforms, including the upcoming streaming service DirecTV Now to launch later this year.
The new terms also provide U-verse with access to Discovery’s linear channels, including rights to the on-demand material and TV Everywhere. Customers would be able to both download and stream shows from the media.
Discovery Domestic Distribution President Eric Phillips says they are pleased to get a “win-win” deal with the largest distributor in the country.
Discovery owns three top 10 most viewed unscripted TV series, more than any other network
So far, 2016 has been their best year with an average of over 850,000 viewers per day. In may 2016 they broke viewership record and marked an all-time highlight for the network.
In a time where most cable networks are experiencing rating declines, Discovery Channel first saw its biggest score yet in May 2015, with an average of 846,000 viewers per day -11% more than 2014’s first quarter. The show “Deadliest Catch” was first that month with 1.45 million viewers.
The channel continued its dominance in 2016. Their top shows are documentary series “Alaskan Bush People,” current #3 most viewed unscripted series on all cable; hardcore-fishing reality “Deadliest Catch” at #2 in the ranking; and street racing docu-reality “Street Outlaws” leading the way.
The Discovery media has enjoyed high levels of rating and customer satisfaction in the last five years. A studio by a third-party firm in October 2015 found the Investigation Discovery ranked #1 for the second year in a row in the percentage of viewers who are satisfied with the network.
The continuity of the deal removes investor concerns
Carriers had sought to eliminate some channels from their grind to lower-cost, or either wanted to renegotiate fees for carrying other network’s content.
The principal investors of the Discovery Media had concerns that the conglomerate would see a cut down from AT&T and DirecTV and thus suffering a significant cut it in their rating upraise.
Discovery Media has deals with both Comcast and AT&T, leaving Charter-Time Warner Cable as the only distributor that has not renewed the distribution agreement.