HBO Max and Discovery+ are combined into a single streaming service


HBO Max and Discovery+ will merge into a single streaming service, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav announced on Jan Second Quarter Results call Thursday.

The media company did not reveal a name for the combined platform, which is set to launch in the US in summer 2023, with additional regions to follow in 2024.

The move is transforming the streaming marketplace, where HBO Max is widely regarded as an emerging success story. HBO and HBO Max rose to a combined – and respectable – 76.8 million global subscribers at the end of the first fiscal quarter.

The announcement also means employees at HBO Max and other WarnerMedia-owned brands are likely to lose their jobs as the company cuts content spend and eliminates roles deemed redundant.

The company is considering a free, ad-supported version of the combined streaming platform, Zaslav confirmed on the conference call.

Zaslav is trying to cut costs and find $3 billion in savings — a promise he made to investors after WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. officially merged in April, creating one of the largest media companies in the US

The change in streaming strategy was announced two days after news broke that WarnerMedia had decided to discontinue Batgirl and Scoob!: Holiday Haunt, films produced exclusively for HBO Max and greenlit by the previous company regime .

“Batgirl” and the “Scoob!” The sequel will not be distributed on a streaming platform or released in theaters – apparently so the company can take a tax write-off on both projects and try to recoup production costs. by variety.

“The decision not to release Batgirl reflects the strategic shift in our leadership regarding the DC Universe and HBO Max,” a spokesman for Warner Bros. Pictures said in a statement, adding that “Batgirl” star Leslie Grace “an incredibly talented actor and this decision doesn’t reflect her performance.”

The move sent shockwaves through Hollywood, where major studios rarely bury films entirely.

In most cases, films that don’t meet a studio’s creative or financial expectations are sold to a streaming platform or silently released to theaters without a marketing campaign.

In recent days, six HBO Max-exclusive films appeared to be disappearing from the platform, including Seth Rogen comedy An American Pickle and Covid-era relationship drama Locked Down, starring Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

The reorganization at WarnerMedia Discovery comes at an uncertain time in Hollywood. Netflix’s financial troubles have raised questions about the profitability of its streaming business, and many executives are concerned about the looming economic recession.

Zaslav’s vision for WarnerMedia represents a dramatic departure from that of Jason Kilar, former WarnerMedia CEO. (Kilar ran WarnerMedia when the multimedia company was owned by telecom giant AT&T.)

Kilar invested heavily in streaming during his tenure, including setting up simultaneous streaming and theatrical releases for Warner Bros. films in 2021 and overseeing the launch of CNN+ – a platform that was quickly shut down by Zaslav’s team.

Zaslav is believed to be more skeptical about the idea that streaming is the be-all and end-all of Hollywood’s future. He’s keen on big-budget spectacles that can draw audiences to conventional theaters — like Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick this year.

“We’re going to fully embrace theater because we think it creates interest and demand,” Zaslav said on Thursday’s conference call, noting the box office success of The Batman and Elvis.

Zaslav is also said to favor reality programs and “unscripted” shows, which are popular draws for Discovery-owned cable TV channels like Food Network and HGTV. HBO, on the other hand, has specialized in expensive small-screen productions such as “Westworld”.

HBO Max is home to original streaming shows like Kaley Cuoco crime thriller The Flight Attendant, pirate farce Our Flag Means Death, and Emmy-winning show business satire Hacks, starring Jean Smart as the veteran comedian.

The platform is also home to an extensive library of films and television shows spanning decades, from classic HBO dramas and hit NBC sitcom Friends to classic films provided by Turner Classic Movies, a WarnerMedia cable brand. HBO Max and Discovery+ are combined into a single streaming service

Fry Electronics Team

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