Following its acquisition of Discovery, the AT&T-owned WarnerMedia will become Warner Bros Discovery, one of the world’s biggest entertainment corporations. And oddly enough, this massive corporation’s first big goal is to combine HBO Max with Discovery+.
Update, 4/11/22: The Warner Bros Discovery deal closed on April 11th. The combined company is now trading under NASDAQ under the ticker “WBD.”
We expect an HBO Max and Discovery+ bundle to launch later this year. That said, we’re not sure when Warner Bros Discovery will combine its streaming services.
Gunnar Wiedenfels, future CFO of Warner Bros Discovery, explained the plan in a conversation with Variety. The HBO Max and Discovery+ services will slowly merge throughout 2022. First, users will have the option to sign into either service with a single account. Other small changes, like cross-publishing exclusive content between the services, will occur before HBO Max and Discovery+ become one.
You’ve got the daily engagement that people enjoy with Discovery content versus sort of the event-driven nature of the HBO Max content. Take that together, I have no doubt that we will be creating one of the most complete, sort of four quadrant, old-young-male-female products out there.
The companies believe their combined streaming service will appeal to a ton of people and dramatically increase revenue. In Wiedenfels’ words, HBO Max is “male-skewing” and Discovery+ is more “female-positioning.” (It’s a weird way of saying that Discovery+ has a ton of reality TV shows, which HBO Max currently lacks.)
As for pricing, Warner Bros Discovery hasn’t made any promises yet. We expect the combined streaming service to simply keep HBO Max’s pricing options, which start at $10 a month (Discovery+ currently starts at $5 a month). An HBO Max price hike seems unlikely, though anything is possible.
Bear in mind AT&T’s acquisition of Warner Bros is still on the table. It could be canceled by regulators, though such action seems unlikely.