WHEN Disney+ made its debut, it served up a star ''Star Wars'' blockbuster. ''The Mandalorian.'' When Apple TV+ came online, it offered a big budget original series starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston. Another comer to streaming, HBO Max, lured subscribers with a ''Wonder Woman'' sequel.

Discovery is taking a much different approach with its entry into streaming  :

''Almost all of the players in the business moved towards a scripted series and scripted movies,'' David Zaslav, the chief executive of  Discovery, said in an interview. ''They went to the big stars and the red carpet. The big shiny object.''

''We're not as shiny,'' he continued,'' he continued,'' and we don't have a lot of red carpets.''

Discovery+, which went live last week on the United States, is built on hornier fare - cooking shows, nature shows, home improvement shows and various other unscripted programs from HGTV, the Food Network, TLC, ID, Animal Planet and the company Flagship, Discovery.

Mr. Zaslav is wagering that people are now ready to subscribe to a streaming service filled with the kind of things you can watch with one eye while folding the laundry, paying bills or scrolling through social media.

And just how much is he willing to bet that people are willing to pay for a platform that promises a more casual viewing experience?

''We are betting the company that they do,'' he said. 

Discovery+ is a late entrant to a crowded field. The service - which costs $5 a month with commercials or $7 without them - will offer 55,000 hours of programming, series like ''Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,'' ''Deadliest Catch,'' ''Naked & Afraid.'' On the Case with Paula Zahn'' and ''Dr. Pimple Popper.''

It will also have many news shows, including the American debut of ''Judi' Dench's Wild Borneo Adventure,'' along with Spinoffs of reality Standbys like ''90 Day Finance,'' ''Say Yest to the Dress'' and ''Fixer Upper.''

There will be nature programming from the BBC, the producer of ''Planet Earth'' and ''Blue Planet.'' And in place of Kidmans, Streeps and Baby Yodas who helped other new platforms to make a splash  over the last year, Discovery+ has Chip and Joanna Gaines, Guy Fieri, Mike Rowe and Bobby Flay.

Discovery made itself into a cable giant with that kind of programming, series that lend themselves to  ''ambient or genre-based viewing - something to watch when a viewer doesn't want to watch anything in particular,'' said Brian Wieser, a media analyst and global president of business intelligence at GroupM, a media investment company.

Mr. Zaslav believes Discovery's success in the channel flipping years will be for the on-demand era.

In recent months, though, there have been signs that Mr. Zaslav's bet could be timely.

In October, the hosts of the ''The Watch'' podcast from The Ringer discussed their love of ''passive TV.  In November, The New Yorker noted ''the rise of ambient TV'' in an essay  that praised shows you can have on in the background.

And Netflix has pushed into Discovery's old territory, with reality series like ''Dream Home Makeover,'' ''Street Food'' and ''Tidying up with Marie Kondo.''  

Mr. Zaslav excused the late arrival of Discovery+ by arguing that it made sense for his company to wait for other streaming platforms to do the dirty work of conditioning viewers to pay monthly fees. [The service will get an early boost through a promotional deal - many Verizon customers will get Discovery+ free for 12 months.

The competition is sure to be intense.

The World Students Society thanks author, John Koblin.


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