By Helen Coster
Jan 3 (Reuters) - Discovery+, the new streaming service from Discovery Inc., will launch Monday in the United States on services and platforms that include Amazon Fire TV and Roku, according to a source familiar with the company - two deals that eluded streaming rivals Peacock and HBO Max at their respective launches.
Discovery+ will also be available to Vodafone TV and mobile customers in 12 European markets with promotions that will vary by market, according to the source.
AT&T Inc- owned WarnerMedia launched HBO MAX in May, but not being accessible through Roku and Amazon challenged its growth. HBO Max did not become available on Amazon Fire TV and Fire tablets until Nov. 17 and on the Roku streaming platform a month later.
Comcast Corp-owned NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service, which launched on July 15, did not become available on Roku until Sept. 21. It is still not available on Amazon Fire TV.
Distribution deals for streaming services have been complicated by issues such as which company controls user data that can be used to create more targeted - and therefore more expensive - ads.
Discovery had previously announced a U.S. distribution deal with Verizon Communications Inc that will make the service available to 50 million customers on day one, following a similar deal struck by Verizon and Walt Disney Co for the launch of the Disney+ streaming service. Discovery has also distribution deals with British broadcaster Sky in the UK and Ireland, Telecom Italia in Italy and Megogo in Eastern Europe.
The new service will feature an emphasis on unscripted programming and include 55,000 episodes from Discovery channels including HGTV, Food Network and Animal Planet. It will cost $4.99 per month with ads, or $6.99 per month ad-free. (Reporting by Helen Coster; Editing by Aurora Ellis)