Warner Bros. Discovery outlined its plans for the future of HBO Max and Discovery+, confirming that the two streamers will be merged by summer 2023. The news came during the new company's quarterly earnings report on Thursday. The merging process has already begun, with titles disappearing from HBO Max and Discovery+'s Magnolia Network content joining HBO Max this fall.
Even before the Warner Bros.-Discovery merger was completed in April, Discovery announced plans to merge HBO Max and Discovery+ into one streamer. It wasn't until Thursday that the company laid out a timeline. The new streamer will launch in the summer of 2023, JB Perrette, CEO and president of global streaming and interactive for Warner Bros. Discovery, said during the earnings call, reports Variety.
"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 idea behind only having one streamer is to create a platform where "there's something for everyone in the household," Perrette said. He also failed to outline how much the new service would cost, instead saying the company was more focused on creating an ad-supported version of the platform. The company is "exploring how to reach customers in the free, ad-supported space" with movies and shows that are different from the paid version.
No name for the combined streamer was announced. It's unclear if HBO will even be part of the name since Perrette said they are doing research to figure out how consumers feel about the HBO Max name. However, he assured analysts that "HBO will always be the beacon and the ultimate brand that stands for television quality."
As for how the merged streamer will work, Perrette said it would combine the best of both. HBO Max has "performance and customer" issues but still has more features. Discovery+ has fewer features, but has a better "delivery capability," the company believes.
After the HBO Max-Discovery+ service launches in the U.S. next summer, the platform will launch in Latin America in fall 2023. European subscribers will get access to the platform in early 2024, with Asia Pacific customers in mid-2024. To show just how dedicated the company is to the merging of the two platforms, the company only announced the combined subscriber base for both. There were 92.1 million subscribers, up 1.7 million from the previous quarter. This was also up 22% from the same time period last year.
The merged streamer will mean thousands of hours of content of very different genres will sit on the same platform. Scripted shows from HBO will be right next to unscripted franchises from TLC. The addition of Chip and Joanna Gaines' Magnolia Network shows to HBO Max is one way for subscribers of that platform to get used to seeing HGTV shows next to Game of Thrones. They won't see Fixer-Upper next to Vinyl, Camping, The Brink, and six Warner Bros. movies made for HBO Max, since those are all among the titles that have disappeared.