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HBO Max and Discovery+ will officially merge in summer 2023.
Warner Bros. Discovery announced the news during the company’s quarterly investor call on Thursday afternoon.
The combined service will bring HBO, CNN, DC Comics, Discovery Channel, Food Network, HGTV, Magnolia Network, OWN, TBS, and TNT together under one roof.
The fate of Max originals has been the topic of much debate this week, thanks to a report from The Wrap that said as much as 70% of HBO Max’s development staff could be laid off this week.
All told, the new service is set to launch next summer and feature and ad-free and ad-light offering.
Pricing has yet to be revealed, and given that it is not set to launch until the summer, more details will likely not be revealed until earlier next year.
JB Perrette, CEO and President, Global Streaming and Interactive at WBD opened up about the rollout strategy.
“Our primary focus for the rollout will be in the markets where HBO Max has already launched,” he said.
“We plan to launch the service sequentially starting in the U.S. next summer. Latin America will follow later in the year.”
“European markets with HBO Max will follow in early ‘24, with additional launches and key Asia Pacific territories and some new European markets coming later in 2024.”
The service is set to effectively be utilizing the best of both apps, but it will mostly be taking pointers from the current Discovery+ app.
“There’s much work to be done over the coming months,” he said, pointing to retooling the tech platform and migrating customers. “There’s lots to do, we’re determined to get it right, which will take a bit of time.”
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO emphasized that the company will fully embrace theatrical, signaling the end of high-budget movies launching on streaming.
“We have a different view on the wisdom of releasing direct to streaming films. And we have taken some aggressive steps to course correct the previous strategy,” said Zaslav of former WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, who opted to release movies the same day as theaters during the pandemic.
There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the combined service and wider company, largely due to the cancellations of both Scoob! and Batgirl, which were both almost complete.
What are your thoughts on the shake-up ahead?
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Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.