Discovery Unveils Poland Joint Venture to Offer "Real Alternative" to Global Streamers

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Discovery CEO David Zaslav

Similar to Joyn in Germany, it will launch as an advertising-based VOD service to bring local content to Poland and international markets, but the partners are eyeing the "eventual rollout of an SVOD component."

Discovery on Friday unveiled a joint venture deal with Polish media giant Polsat Group's pay TV arm Cyfrowy Polsat to create a video streaming service that will operate in Poland and international markets and take on global streaming giants, such as Netflix and Amazon.

The venture will launch as an advertising-based VOD service, but the partners said they plan to develop it, "including the eventual rollout of an SVOD component."

Discovery, led by CEO David Zaslav, previously struck a similar deal in Germany with ProSiebenSat.1 to launch streaming platform Joyn.

"The new OTT service will give viewers a single destination to access the best of Polish content, including movies, series, documentaries, sports and entertainment," Discovery said. "The new service will include local productions supplied by [Discovery-owned Polish free-to-air network] TVN and Polsat, acquired content and new series commissioned specifically for the new entity. The new platform will offer a different proposition to global OTT services and will be differentiated by more local characters and stories."

The platform will be an independent business entity with its own resources and management board, according to the partners. It will also be open to partners that want to supply content to it. The partners will also continue to offer their existing digital services, namely Player.pl, owned by TVN, and Ipla.tv, owned by Cyfrowy Polsat. "Decisions on their future shape and role will be decided in due course," the companies said.

"This new venture fits squarely into our international strategy and belief that local broadcasters need to better satisfy consumer demand by aggregating their offerings and developing a strong local-content-led streaming service — just as we did in Germany with Joyn,” said Kasia Kieli, president and CEO Discovery EMEA. "Polish audiences will have a dizzying number of streaming options for international content, but this will undoubtedly be the home of the best Polish productions."

"We are glad to be co-creating a project, which is likely to become a real alternative to international OTTs," said Maciej Stec, deputy president for strategy at Cyfrowy Polsat. "Our ambition is for the platform to offer the best and most advanced technological solutions. It is especially important that this project has the capability to bring Polish content to international viewers, too."