HBO Max, Discovery+ Services To Merge Starting Next Year
The HBO Max and Discovery+ premium streaming services will be combined into a new subscription video service beginning in the U.S. next summer before rolling out to other regions in 2024 and 2025, Warner Bros. Discovery revealed in its second quarter financial statement Thursday.
Company executives told analysts in a Q2 call the newly combined service will be built on Discovery+ infrastructure and is expected to garner 130 million subscribers globally in 2025. It is also planning to develop an ad-based streaming service.
WarnerMedia and Discovery merged in April 2022, and in the first Q2-2022 analysts call Thursday, executives shared combined results showing a total of 92.1 million streaming subscribers at the end of the period, up 1.7 million from the previous quarter.
In the U.S. and Canada, the combined company lost about 300,000 subscribers to 53 million, as international subscriptions increased by 2 million with 39.1 million subs.
David Zaslav, Warner Bros Discovery president and CEO said, the company intends to maximize value of its massive content assets using a broad international distribution model that includes theatrical, streaming, linear cable, free-to-air, gaming, consumer products and experiences, and more.
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Theatrical will be fully embraced by the company again in the future, and HBO Max will no longer release new movies simultaneously in theaters and online. Instead, the company will implement a 45-day exclusive theatrical window.
Expenses are also being cut, including the recent cancelling of major productions including Batgirl, Wonder Twins and Scoob: Holiday Haunt.
Going forward, the operation will stress the quality of its releases and their promotion, including using a team working together under a 10-year plan focused just on the DC Superheros properties, in a manner similar how Disney has handled its Marvel Studios titles.
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By Greg Tarr
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