HBO Max as we know it will soon be gone. During its first conference call since the two media companies merged earlier this year, Warner Bros. Discovery announced that it plans to merge HBOMax and Discovery+ into a single streaming service — set to launch in summer 2023. It’s unclear if the new streamer will even reference HBO — JB Perrette, the company’s head of global streaming, said the company is still researching how consumers perceive the brand name.
The news follows on the heels of the newly merged company in the second quarter. “At the end of the day, putting all the content together was the only way we saw to turn it into a profitable business,” Perrette told analysts.
Warner Bros. leadership is planning a major overhaul of its streaming offerings and also needs to cut costs, prompting rumors that an evisceration of HBO Max is underway. Executives didn’t reveal the new platform’s name or pricing details, but did say it will include an ad-free and less expensive ad-supported plan. It may also add a free, ad-supported tier to further expand its audience.
Layoffs at HBO Max weren’t mentioned on today’s conference call — which ones The wrap were imminent as the two streaming platforms undergo restructuring. Engadget has reached out to HBO Max for comment and will update when we receive feedback.
It’s unclear exactly how the merger will affect future content offerings from the newly combined streamer. The company abruptly announced this week that it would be canceling two films in development for HBO Max – bat girl and Schoob!. Around the same time, the streamer announced it was canceling the show The Gordita Chronicles and the demise of live-action children’s and family programming altogether. A number of shows and films have been released by HBO Max in recent weeks, including moonshot, The witches and An American cucumberand more are to follow.
One thing is certain: we will see far fewer blockbuster films on the new streamer Premiere than we have during the pandemic. David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, said that releasing films in theaters simply generates higher profits. “That’s why most people got into this business — to be on the big screen when the lights go out,” Zaslav said. “That’s the magic, and the economic model is much stronger.”
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https://www.engadget.com/hbo-max-discovery-earnings-call-second-quarter-010400473.html?src=rss HBO Max and Discovery+ to combine into one streaming platform in 2023