What you need to know
- Warner Bros. Discovery has revealed the timeline for the merger of HBO Max and Discovery+.
- The unified streaming platform will debut in the summer of 2023 in the United States.
- It will also roll out in Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific in the future.
The HBO Max-Discovery+ merger was already set in stone when Discovery closed its acquisition of Warner Media from AT&T last April, forming Warner Bros. Discovery. The merged company has now revealed the timeline for the fusion of the two streaming platforms.
Warner Bros. Discovery has announced during its 2022 second quarter earnings call (opens in new tab) that HBO Max and Discovery+ will become a single streaming service beginning in the summer of 2023. The rollout will start in the United States, then move on to Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Later in 2024, the unified streamer will be introduced in additional markets.
The company did not specify what the combined service would be called or how much it would cost. HBO Max currently sets you back $14.99 a month without ads and $9.99 per month with ads, while Discovery+ costs $6.99 a month without ads and $4.99 per month with ads.
According to Warner Bros. Discovery, the unified streaming service will offer various tiers, including ad-free, ad-lite, and ad-only plans. The company will also offer transactional and multi-tier options that will contain sports programs. Of course, the premium and ad-supported versions will offer entirely different sets of content on mobile and smart TVs.
During the company’s recent earnings call, JB Perrette, CEO and president of global streaming and games for Warner Bros. Discovery, said the combined service will fuse the best features of both platforms. He described HBO Max as rich in competitive features but suffering from “performance and customer issues.” Discovery+, on the other hand, has more limited features but offers “best-in-class performance and consumer ratings.”
“Our combined service will focus on delivering the best of both: market-leading features with world-class performance,” Perrette said.
Discovery’s CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels confirmed the merger of HBO Max and Discovery+ last March during Deutsche Bank’s 30th annual Media, Internet & Telecom conference. At the time, he said that Discovery would offer each service as a bundle before completely merging them.
Discovery reported a combined subscriber base of 92.1 million users for HBO Max, HBO, and Discovery+ in Q2 2022, though the user base for each platform was not disclosed. According to Variety (opens in new tab), this is a 1.7 million increase from the previous quarter’s 90.4 million. The company’s goal is to reach 130 million subscribers globally by 2025, relying mostly on the combined streamer.