When Discovery acquired Warner Bros from AT&T to become the new media entity known as Warner Bros. Discovery, the purchase included the HBO Max streaming service. But Discovery already had its own streaming service, Discovery+. Which meant now that the new company exists, they are essentially competing with themselves for potential subscribers, who might only have a certain amount of dollars each month to spend on streaming.
It seemed inevitable that Warner Bros. Discovery would combine the two services — and they will. The company announced during its earnings call today that they are planning to join HBO Max and Discovery+ into one giant streaming service by next summer. They did not reveal the name of the new app yet.
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav said of the news “our streaming strategy has evolved over the last year, and reflects the importance of, rather than the dependence on [streaming].” That would seem to be a nod at moves in recent days to cut back on (or outright cancel) original programming for HBO Max like Batgirl and a Scooby-Doo movie that were both deep into production.
Whatever becomes of HBO Max and Discovery+, the new service will also eventually offer a free, ad-supported tier, the company also announced. HBO Max currently costs either $9.99 a month with ads, or $14.99 a month without ads. Discovery+ costs $4.99 a month with ads, or $6.99 a month for ad-free viewing.
A single service that combines HBO programming with Discovery’s reality fare — and that eventually comes for free with ads — seems like a no-brainer, and potentially a very serious competitor to apps like Netflix or Amazon’s Prime Video.
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