Warner Bros. Discovery abandons its plan to discontinue Discovery+ as a stand-alone service As it moves forward with the HBO Max merger
- February 10, 2023
Plans to combine HBO Max and Discovery+, two streaming services, have been shelved by Warner Bros. Discovery. Instead, as it moves forward with the springtime launch of a comprehensive service that includes HBO Max and Discovery+ programming, it will continue to offer the latter as a stand-alone product.
After The Wall Street Journal first reported it, insiders told Deadline about the strategic shift. Unidentified people who were familiar with the decision were quoted in the WSJ as saying that Discovery+ subscribers might not want to pay more for a combined service.
HBO Max costs $16 per month, or $10 with ads, while Discovery+ costs $7 and Discovery+ costs $5. WBD executives have frequently discussed the possibility of combining the two into a single product over the past few months. Even though the ultimate fit between prestige HBO fare and Discovery mainstays like 90-Day Fiancé has been questioned both within and outside of the company, HBO Max has already been featuring Discovery titles more prominently of late.
Currently, it is planned that Discovery+ will continue to be available even when a newly rebranded combo service launches in the spring. It is common knowledge that HBO Max will be renamed Max in order to reflect the channel’s plans to expand its audience and move beyond its roots as premium cable. Pricing is one thing to think about, especially when you consider how consumers have reacted to inflation and the rise of streaming services in recent years. HBO Max, which costs $16 and recently overtook Netflix’s most popular tier in the United States, is already at the top of the market. At the same time that WBD is continuing to pursue its subscription streaming business, it is also intensifying efforts in the realm of free, ad-supported streaming. The company recently agreed to license a number of shows from HBO and Warner Bros. Television to Roku and Tubi. Later this year, it plans to launch FAST channels.
In 2020, WarnerMedia launched HBO Max after merging with Discovery for $43 billion in April. It is trying to manage the secular decline of the linear TV business and the uncertainty surrounding streaming profit models, like many of its peers in the media. The company has not released subscriber numbers for Discovery+, which launched in early 2021, since the merger was completed. Instead, it has combined them into a total number of subscribers, which includes HBO in a linear format. WBD had 94.9 million direct-to-consumer subscribers as of the 30th of September last year and has set a goal of 130 million by 2025.