HBO Max will merge with Discovery+ from the summer of 2023 but is unlikely to reach Europe until 2024.
The newly merged Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) has not had the best of weeks. Earlier it emerged the studios division would not be releasing the movie Batgirl in any format amid suggestions revenue projections were such that a tax write-off was more advantageous to the business.
Second quarter revenues were down 1% leading to a loss of $3,418 million.
Total subscriber numbers to HBO Max and Discovery+ increased by 1.7 million to 92 million on the quarter. Discovery+ has 22 million subscribers while HBO Max and the established HBO premium channel has 73.8 million subscribers. WBD estimates there to be an overlap of an additional overlap of around 4 million subscribers between the two services.
Outlining plans for the combination of HBO Max with Discovery+, JB Perrette, CEO and President, Global Streaming and Games said the two were “very unique and complementary streaming services”.
Perrette explained the way in which subscribers engaged with the services was also different. “Some of it being more appointment viewing driving subscriber acquisition, other content being more comfort viewing, driving subscriber retention with people watching hours on end.
HBO Max has a competitive feature set, but has had performance and customer issues. Discovery+ has best-in-class performance and consumer ratings, but more limited features. Our combined service will focus on delivering the best of both, market-leading features with world-class performance.
The two services will be migrated into a single tech stack, based on the core infrastructure of Discovery, but including “important feature enhancements” from HBO Max.
The new UI will enable better content discovery and more personalisation.
Perrette said the primary focus will be in the markets where HBO has already launched. This means the combined platform will launch first in the United States next summer, followed by Latin America later in the year.
Europe, which has seen a reduction in local production and where many markets are yet to see HBO Max launch, will follow in Early 2024.
Plans for an ad supported offering will be revealed at WBD’s Investor Day later this year.