The newly created entertainment giant Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) has outlined its bold plans to merge HBO Max and Discovery Plus into a single streaming service.
speaking in the last company earnings call (opens in new tab)WBD executive JB Perrette has announced ambitions to launch the as-yet-unnamed platform by 2023 in the US.
The service in question will bring together the extensive portfolios of WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. under the same streaming roof to provide “something for everyone in the house,” Perrette explained. WBD’s network offering currently includes HBO, CNN, DC Comics, Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV, Magnolia Network, OWN, TBS and TNT.
“At the end of the day, putting all the content together was the only way we saw to make this a viable business,” Perrette told analysts.
The launch of the new streamer will begin in the US next summer (i.e. between June and September 2023), before expanding to Latin America later in the year and to European HBO Max-compatible markets in early 2024.
No mention of the platform’s title was made during the WBD earnings call, and its pricing structure also remains under wraps. Perrette, however, emphasized that the company is “exploring how to reach customers in the free, ad-supported space” — suggesting that a free subscription tier could be rolled out to stand alongside the premium and discounted tiers already available on HBO Max.
Explaining how the new streamer will be greater than the sum of its parts, Perrette said: “HBO Max has a competitive feature set but has had performance and customer issues. Discovery Plus has the best performance and consumer ratings, but more limited features. Our combined service will focus on delivering the best of both.”
As of March 2022, HBO and HBO Max boasted a combined subscriber base of around 77 million. Add Discovery Plus subscriber pool to that number, and the two platforms currently serve somewhere in the region of 92 million customers.
After the launch of this new super streamer, WBD expects to reach 130 million global subscribers by 2025. For comparison, Netflix has, at the time of this writing, just under 221 million subscribers, while Disney Plus serves around 140. millions.
For more analysis surrounding Warner Bros. Discovery, find out why your latest MCU-style plan for the DCEU won’t work.