HBO Max will merge with Discovery+ on one platform, and the series will not be a priority

After days of rumors and expectations that pointed to this Thursday evening, the conference with analysts from David Zaslavthe CEO of the new giant Discovery of Warner Bros. -emerged from the union of the two companies to compete for the market with The Walt Disney Company-, ended up providing little news but giving ideas on their future projects.

What's Happening to HBO Max and Why 'Foodie Love', 'Nothing New' and 'By H or by B' Disappeared

What’s Happening to HBO Max and Why ‘Foodie Love’, ‘Nothing New’ and ‘By H or by B’ Disappeared

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The main novelty, in fact, it was already known and explained in March: HBO Max will merge with Discovery+ into a single platform. The novelty is that Zaslav has already set a date for this: the new platform will be launched in the United States in the summer of 2023, it will arrive in Latin America in the fall, to Europe in early 2024, and throughout this year to the rest of the world. The company’s plan is for this new platform to reach 130 million subscribers in 2025. Currently, adding HBO Max and Discovery+, they total 92 million subscribers, a far cry from Netflix’s 220 million. The HBO Max brand has 76.8 million users in the United States, Europe and Latin America; while Discovery+ has some 24 million subscribers, mostly in the United States, as Efe explains.

The truth is that no further details were given. not even the name that this new platform will have, amid rumors that HBO Max was going away. In this regard, Zaslav and the company’s head of streaming strategy, JB onlinethey avoided giving a direct answer: “We are watching it and we will continue to watch it”, and clarified that they did not want to do without the brand because “it is one of the flagships of the company crown “, as reported by El País. But at the same time they have sown doubt by specifying that it will lose content, that its name will not be the main one, and that in its attempt to prioritize “the user experience and quality” technology will be powered by Discovery+ and not HBO Max.

Without giving specific details on the content, Zaslav said that they were already working with the idea of ​​offering a cheaper or even free subscription in exchange for advertisements, the same thing that Netflix will implement next year.

A month ago, in verTele we have already explained what was going on with HBO Max, and why were titles disappearing from its catalog for save costs for the new business. An analysis made after the order of the new Warner Bros. Discovery shoot down all European HBO Max production except in Spain, another indication that the priority of the new giant will not be streaming.

Priority to film production, first in theaters

This change of priorities was confirmed this Thursday during the conference with analysts. Zaslav literally recognized a “change in strategy” that will lead the company to favor cinema and theater releases. “Our strategy has changed over the last year and reflects the importance, but not the dependence, of streaming,” the CEO explained, noting that films will hit theaters and then arrive on the platform, although opening for shorter the time between one launch and another.

A new strategy that can be summed up economically in the phrase “The economic model is much stronger” and that it is contrary to that of former Warner CEO Jason Kilar, who during the pandemic chose to release blockbusters (Dunes, Godzilla vs. Kong oh Matrix 4) both in theaters and on HBO Max. Zaslav was candid in assuring that “it makes no economic sense or value” to release expensive films directly on platforms. Without mentioning it at any time, the example of Top Gun: Maverick flew over the conference.

David Zaslav also emphasized quality over quantity. And without bloodshed, the cancellation of the film bat girl despite being ready for its premiere and costing $90 million, as explained, served as an example with two very indicative sentences: “Our job is to protect the DC brand and that’s what we’re going to do” and “we’re not going to release a movie if we don’t believe in it”. “There was no economic model for bat girl would give advantages in streaming”, concluded.

10-year plan to turn DC into its Marvel Universe

Precisely the dc universe This will be the big bet of the new company. Zaslav not only expressed his confidence in his upcoming films Black Adam, Shazam there the flash (banishing rumors that it will also be canceled due to the scandals of its protagonist, Ezra Miller), but announced that they have prepared a plan for the next 10 years that “DC Studios” is developing in the style of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a comparison even the CEO himself didn’t shy away from when he said they aspired to a “very similar” model with their DC characters.

To realize this new strategy, Zaslav pointed out that all upcoming movies in the DC Universe will be released theatrically and then via streaming.

And the series?

This new prioritization seems clear that it will affect series-related HBO Max content. In his lecture, Zaslav hardly spoke about such productions, focusing almost exclusively on cinematic interest. So serial production seems to be taking a step back (which will not disappear), even more so if we take into account that the CEO has referred to the good acceptance of Discovery content with its programs, which in Spain can be seen mainly through DMax.

In fact, Zaslav also pointed out that two of HBO Max’s main content to date, animation and children’s content, will also be removed from the new platform. A decision that is not the least, considering that Warner Bros is the company of the legendary Looney Tunes.

The merger of HBO Max and Discovery + will give rise to a service that will bring together the catalogs of WarnerMedia and Discovery, a new conglomerate that owns brands as important as HBO, CNN, Warner Bros., Eurosport or DC Comics, among others.

The union of the two services comes at a time when the streaming market is beginning to show its first signs of saturation. Netflix has two quarters in a row with customer losses; the platform CNN+ closes its service a month after its debut (already under the restructuring of Warner Bros. Discovery) and other bets like Apple TV + do not end to take off despite millionaire investments.

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