HBO Max is set to get even bigger. Today, Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfel announced that the merger of Warner Media and HBO Max is on track for a mid-2022 closing (per The Hollywood Reporter). And not only are the companies merging, but so are the streaming platforms. In other words: Discovery+ and HBO Max will soon become one super-sized streaming service.
During a session at this year’s Deutsche Bank Annual Media, Internet & Telecome Conference, Wiedenfel argued that merging the customer retention power of Discovery+ content and the subscriber acquisition content of HBO Max will “make for a blowout DTC (direct-to-consumer) product, and that should certainly drive very healthy revenue growth for years to come.”
But such big changes won’t happen overnight. Wiedenfel clarified that, should the merger go through, Discovery+ and HBO Max will initially be bundled together as streamers, with ad-free and ad-supported products. Eventually, they would be combined into one streaming platform, meaning that content from HGTV, Food Network,TLC, Animal Planet, and more could soon sit beside Succession and Euphoria.
“Right out of the gate, we’re working on getting the bundling approach ready,” Wiedenfel added. “But the main thrust is going to be harmonizing the technology platforms, building one very strong combined direct-to-consumer product and platform, and that’s going to take a while… Our goal is to compete with the leading streaming services, not to win the spending war.”
In February, the Discovery-Warner Bros. deal cleared a major hurdle: Receiving approval from the US Department of Justice. The merger was previously approved by the European Commission in December 2021.
According to Variety, insiders are hoping to close the deal between the timeframe of April 11-April 28, following Friday’s approval vote from Discovery shareholders.
Exact pricing for this super-sized streamer hasn’t been announced just yet. HBO Max currently offers an ad-supported tier for $9.99 per month and an ad-free plan for $14.99 per month, while Discovery+ costs $4.99 with ads and $6.99 without ads.
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