As the Warner Bros. Discovery merger continues to take shape, questions have lingered about the future of the original companies’ individual streaming services, HBO Max and Discovery Plus. Per Variety, during the company’s Q2 earnings call, JB Perrette, CEO and president of global streaming and interactive for Warner Bros. Discovery, announced that the two streaming services will merge to become one unified platform in the summer of 2023.
Perrette noted that combining the services makes the most sense so that there is one platform that offers content for the whole family. "At the end of the day, putting all the content together was the only way we saw to make this a viable business."
No name was announced for the new streaming platform and there’s no indication as to whether HBO will remain part of the platform’s name or identity. Perrette told shareholders that they value the HBO brand but need more information before attaching the name to the combined service. "HBO will always be the beacon and the ultimate brand that stands for television quality," he said.
Combining the brands will allow one unified brand and identity that embraces the best that each service has to offer. While HBO Max is loaded with quality content and features, he noted the platform’s "performance and customer" issues that could be offset by Discovery Plus’ superior delivery.
At this point the initial rollout of the new platform will roll out in the US in the summer of 2023, followed by a staggered introduction in Latin America later that year. The rollout will continue in Europe in early 2024 and in Asia Pacific in the middle of 2024.
There are lots of questions about the new service that won’t have answers for a while. Pricing is one of the glaring questions. Each platform currently has its own pricing structure, with HBO Max’s plan slightly more expensive than that of Discovery Plus. With so much content merging, it’s almost impossible to think that the service will premiere at a lower price than what’s offered at this point; HBO Max is available for a monthly rate of $14.99 without ads and $9.99 with ads, while Discovery Plus comes in at $6.99 without ads and $4.99 with ads.
Now that we know what the future holds for HBO Max and Discovery Plus, we’ll be keeping an eye out for sweeping changes to the platforms ahead of the merge. HBO Max has already started culling content, including six movies already on the platform and the upcoming Batgirl movie that was in post-production. Will other movies and series face the same fate? Only time will tell.
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Sarabeth joined the What to Watch team in May 2022. An avid TV and movie fan, her perennial favorites are The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, true crime documentaries on Netflix and anything from Passionflix. You’ve Got Mail, Ocean's Eleven and Signs are movies that she can watch all day long. She's also a huge baseball fan, and hockey is a new favorite.
When she's not working, Sarabeth hosts the My Nights Are Booked Podcast and a blog dedicated to books and interviews with authors and actors. She also published her first novel, Once Upon an Interview, in 2022.