5/2 Update: The removal was eventually avoided with a last-minute deal. Read more here.
Like watching the Discovery channel? The channel, along with programmes such as “Gold Rush”, “Ed Stafford” and “Idris Elba: Fighter” are likely to disappear from Sky in February – and that includes Sky’s streaming service for cord cutters, NOW TV.
The reason for this unfortunate situation, as Engadget reports – the tanked negotiations between Sky and Discovery, with Sky not willing to meet Discovery’s financial demands. If a last-minute resolution can’t be found, Discovery will pull all 12 of their channels from Sky’s network (NOW TV only includes the Discovery channel).
Cord Cutters sometimes struggle to find nature and documentary shows, so the Discovery option was a blessed addition on NOW TV (which, thankfully, also includes National Geographic).
Discovery and Sky have both taken to their own websites to battle it out loud. Discovery have gone so far as to launch a “#KeepDiscovery” campaign, with its own website. The site, which includes a “Doomsday” ticking clock, counting down to the day we will lose the Discovery channels, is urging viewers to “make their voices heard”.
“Every week, more than five and a half million people watch one of our shows on Sky.
Our fans are amongst the most loyal in TV and we have invested significantly to bring world class channels and high quality programmes to the UK for nearly 30 years.
We are committed to finding a solution with Sky in order to keep bringing you the channels you love.”
Sky, on the other hand, have posted a lengthy letter on their website, claiming they have negotiated with Discovery in good faith for more than a year, and are “disappointed with their misleading claims and aggressive actions”.
“We were prepared to pay a fair price for the Discovery and Eurosport channels and invest more in those channels to make them even better for our customers.
“We have offered hundreds of millions of pounds to Discovery, a $12bn American business, but that wasn’t enough. They asked the Sky Group to pay close to £1bn for their portfolio of channels, many of which are in decline.
While Discovery claims their shows account for 50% of “all factual programming on Sky”, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch says Discovery’s linear viewership has been in a long-term decline. “They are not hitting the sort of big shows that people expect and pay for. I can’t think of a Discovery show in our top 100 shows.”
What can I do as a Cord Cutter?
If indeed Sky loses Discovery’s channels on February, as a NOW TV subscriber you’re going to be left with less nature, history and some bizarre reality shows – but keep in the mind the Discovery channel was the only one available on NOW TV anyway.
If you’re looking for nature shows, NOW TV also includes the Nat Geo channel, and occasionally there are nature and history shows from Sky 1 as well. On other platforms, there are lots of nature shows on the BBC which you would watch with iPlayer or Freeview. And there are some (though not a lot) nature shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video as well.