HBO Max and Discovery+ Will Be Merged Into One Service
Discovery is nearing the completion of its acquisition of WarnerMedia from AT&T — and when it does it will have to begin the process of merging the two companies’ assets. That will apparently include Discovery’s streaming service, Discovery+, and Warner’s streaming service, HBO Max, with one Discovery executive now saying that the two will ultimately be combined into a single platform.
According to Discovery chief financial officer Gunnar Wiedenfels (via Variety), the company prefers “a combined product as opposed to a bundle” like the one that Disney began offering upon its acquisition of Hulu, which they maintained as a separate streaming service from their Disney+ platform.
Wiedenfels said a conference that it will take “some time” to combine Discovery+ and HBO Max and in the meantime there will be an “interim solution,” namely a way to get both services for a single price...
So right out of the gate, we’re working on getting the bundling approach ready, maybe a single sign-on, maybe ingesting content into the other product, etc., so that we can start to get some benefits early on. But the main thrust is going to be harmonizing the technology platform. Building one very, very strong combined direct-to-consumer product and platform, that’s going to take a while.
At present, HBO Max is either $9.99 a month with ads or $14.99 a month without them. Discovery+ is $4.99 with ads or $6.99 without ads, and filled with programming from channels like Food Network, HGTV, TLC, Travel Channel, and Animal Planet.
In the case of Disney and their bundle of streaming services, the reason for the offer (and for the distinction between Disney+ and Hulu) is that Disney+ is presented as a wholesome family-friendly product while Hulu is where adult fare from Disney subsidiaries like Fox and FX lives without concerns about their maturecontent. If you aren’t concerned about your image in that way, then you don’t need to worry about siloing things off.
HBO Max already has a bunch of different brands under its umbrella — the site has sections for TCM, DC Comics characters, Adult Swim, and others — so it would fairly simple to just add more sections for Discovery properties. Of course, that’s if Discovery plans to keep HBO Max as a thing and doesn’t want to add HBO’s content and subscribers to Discovery+, or to create something entirely new out of both.