As the Warner Bros. Discovery acquisition progresses, concerns have arisen about the future of the original companies'' individual streaming services, HBO Max and Discovery Plus. During the company''s Q2 earnings call, JB Perrette, the CEO and president of global streaming and interactive for Warner Bros. Discovery, stated that the two streaming services will merge (opens in a new tab) in the summer of 2023.
Perrette said that combining the services makes the most sense so that there is one platform that provides content for the whole family. "It was the only way we saw at the end of the day to make this business viable."
The name for the new streaming platform has not been disclosed, and there is no indication on whether HBO will remain part of the platforms'' name or identity. Perrette told shareholders that they should learn more before attaching the name to the combined service. "HBO will always be the future beacon and the ultimate brand that stands for television quality," he said.
Combining the brands will allow one unified brand and identity that embraces the best that each service has to offer. Despite HBO Max''s high content and features, he noted the platforms'' "performance and customer" concerns that might be avoided by Discovery Plus''s improved delivery.
The initial rollout of the new platform will begin in the United States in the summer of 2023, followed by a staggered start in Latin America later that year. The rollout will continue in Europe in early 2024 and in Asia Pacific in the middle of 2024.
There are a lot of questions about the new service that will not answer for a while. Pricing is one of the biggest concerns. Each platform currently has its own pricing structure, with HBO Maxs planning to be slightly higher on the price of this point; HBO Max is available for a monthly rate of $14.99 without ads and $9.99 with ads, while Discovery Plus is available for $6.99 without ads and $4.99 with ads.
Now that we know what HBO Max and Discovery Plus will be combined, then we should keep an eye on important changes to the platforms ahead of the merger. HBO Max has already begun culling content, including six films already on the platform, and the upcoming film that was in post-production. Will other films and series face the same fate? Only time will tell.