HBO Max and Discovery will combine into servic 2022

HBO

HBO

On Thursday, during an earnings call for the second quarter, the chief executive officer of Warner Bros. Discovery stated that HBO Max and Discovery+ will be combined into a single streaming service.

The media conglomerate did not disclose the name of the new platform, which it stated will debut in the United States during the summer of 2023, with the launch of the platform in other areas occurring in 2024.

According to the quarterly financial report, there are a combined total of 92 million subscribers for the current iterations of both HBO Max and Discovery+. By the year 2025, Warner Bros. Discovery anticipates having achieved its goal of 130 million global subscribers.

Zaslav acknowledged on the results call that the business is thinking about offering a free version of the consolidated streaming platform that would be financed by advertisements. The tier of HBO Max that is sponsored by advertisements now costs $10 per month.

The new “Batgirl” movie will not be released by Warner Bros. on any platform.

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After the formal merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. in April, which created one of the largest media businesses in the United States, Zaslav promised investors that he would reduce costs and find $3 billion in savings. Currently, he is working to fulfill that promise.

The adjustment in streaming approach was unveiled two days after the news came that Warner Bros. decided to shelve “Batgirl” and “Scoob! : Holiday Haunt.” Both of these movies were developed exclusively for HBO Max and were given the greenlight by the previous corporate government.

According to Variety, the movies “Batgirl” and the sequel to “Scoob!” will not be distributed on any streaming platform nor will they be released in theaters. This decision was reportedly made so that the firm could take a tax write-down on both projects and attempt to recuperate production costs.

A spokesperson for Warner Bros. Pictures said in a statement that the decision to not release “Batgirl” reflects the company’s leadership’s strategic shift in relation to the DC universe and HBO Max. The spokesperson also said that “Batgirl” star Leslie Grace is “an incredibly talented actor” and that “this decision is not a reflection of her performance.”

The move sent shock waves through Hollywood, where large studios rarely bury pictures totally, as it was the case with this move.

Films that do not satisfy the creative or commercial goals of a studio are typically sold off to a streaming provider or quietly abandoned in cinemas without a marketing campaign. This is the scenario in the majority of cases.

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In recent days, it seems that six films that were developed especially for HBO Max were removed from the platform. Among these films were the Seth Rogen comedy “An American Pickle” and the love drama “Locked Down,” which starred Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

The restructure that has taken place at Warner Bros. Discovery has taken place during a period of transition in Hollywood. The difficulties that Netflix is currently experiencing financially have cast doubt on the future of the streaming industry, and many executives are becoming increasingly concerned about the likelihood of an economic downturn.

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The current CEO of WarnerMedia, Zaslav, has a very different vision for the company from the one that was held by Jason Kilar in the past. (During the period that AT&T was the owner of the multimedia conglomerate WarnerMedia, Kilar served as the company’s CEO.)

Kilar made significant investments in streaming during his tenure at CNN. He oversaw the launch of CNN+, a platform that was terminated almost immediately after it was introduced by Zaslav’s group. During his time at CNN, Kilar also instituted simultaneous theatrical and HBO Max releases for Warner Bros. movies in 2021.

It is believed that Zaslav has a more pessimistic outlook on the notion that streaming will play a decisive role in the future of Hollywood. Big-budget spectacles that can entice consumers to go to traditional theaters, like “Top Gun: Maverick,” which was released by Paramount this year, are of particular interest to him.

Zaslav stated on Thursday’s earnings call that “We will completely embrace theatrical because we feel it increases interest and demand.” He cited the financial success of “The Batman” and “Elvis” at the box office as evidence for this belief.

Moreover, it is believed that Zaslav prefers reality programs and “unscripted” shows, both of which are popular draws on cable television channels owned by Discovery, such as the Food Network and HGTV.

The Kaley Cuoco mystery “The Flight Attendant,” the pirate farce “Our Flag Means Death,” and the Emmy-winning show industry satire “Hacks,” featuring Jean Smart as a veteran comedian, are just a few examples of the unique programming that can be found on HBO Max.

Additionally, the platform is home to a vast library of movies and television shows spanning many decades. These include popular sitcoms such as “Friends” on NBC and old episodes of HBO dramas, in addition to classic films courtesy of Turner Classic Movies.

CORRECTION (Aug. 4, 2022, 6:41 p.m.): In a previous version of this story, the name of the parent firm of HBO Max was spelled incorrectly. It is actually referred to as Warner Bros. Discovery and not WarnerMedia Discovery.

Daniel Arkin

NBC News’ Daniel Arkin is one of the network’s national reporters. His areas of expertise include pop culture and the entertainment industry, in particular the film and television industries.

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