“For example, we were going to spend $800 million to promote Discovery+, Warner was going to spend $800 million to $1 billion to promote HBO Max. If we have a platform, we just don’t promote twice,” Zaslav said then, per The envelope. “We had planned to hire a lot more engineers. Now when we come together we have thousands of engineers, another platform that has thousands of engineers, so we don’t need to hire several thousand more engineers.”
Today, four months later, Zaslav’s restructuring plan is underway.
What does this mean for HBO Max?
On August 4, Warner Bros. Discovery announced during the company’s second-quarter earnings call that HBO Max and Discovery+ would be merged into a single combined streaming service to launch in the United States in summer 2023.
Jean-Briac Perrette, CEO and President of Global Streaming and Gaming at WBD, declared on the call on which the new streamer will capitalize on and combine the strengths of HBO Max and Disovery+: “We recognize that our two existing products have shortcomings. HBO Max has a competitive feature set but has had performance and client issues. Discovery+ has best-in-class performance and highest consumer ratings, but more limited features.”
Discovery+ is currently the home streaming service for unscripted content like 90 day fiance and Flip or Flop from HGTV, TLC, Food Network, Travel Channel, Magnolia Network and Discovery Channel. With this merger, HBO Max shows will live alongside Discovery+ shows. The new integrated streaming service does not yet have a brand name or specific pricing details. However, Zaslav said on the call that the company is exploring the idea of an ad-supported free tier and an ad-free paid tier for the platform.
According VarietyWarner Bros. Discovery shared that the new streaming service would first be introduced in the United States in the summer of 2023, then rolled out to Latin America in the fall of 2023, Europe in early 2024, Asia-Pacific in the middle. 2024 and in other global markets in fall 2024. .
What’s the fate of my favorite HBO Max original shows and movies?
During the Q&A portion of the earnings call, Zaslav address rumors that more scripted HBO shows like Gossip Girl (2022), Rap shit!, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sinand The sex life of college girls would be canceled and fewer HBO series would be produced.
“There was buzz today about HBO Max [that] we’re going to start doing fewer shows and our strategy is to embrace and support and then drive the incredible success that HBO Max is having… We’re going to spend a lot more on the HBO Max product,” said Zaslav. “We’re going to spend more money on content. We’re a content company.”
However, as reported Forbes, WBD is set to cut HBO Max’s production staff by 70%, with a new content strategy that doesn’t prioritize HBO Max’s original scripted content, both series and movies. As writer Eliza Skinner pointed out on Twitter, unscripted content is cheaper to produce than scripted content. So while more money may be spent on HBO Max, it’s unclear how much and what kinds of shows will be funded.