If you like HBO Max like we do, you’ve gotten almost certainly been fairly stressed out. This week has noticed a nightmare scenario emerge for the HBO Max and Discovery Plus merger. But within the Warner Bros. Discovery Q2 Earnings Call these days (Thursday, Aug. 4), we were given reason why for measured optimism.
Editor’s observe: This tale has been up to date in line with the Earnings Call.
Yes, in case you have not heard, the Discovery acquisition of WarnerMedia from AT&T, which resulted in the mouthful of a brand new identify Warner Bros. Discovery, intended we are going to be getting one carrier that mixes the 2. Or so we concept.
HBO Max were given distinguished placement within the Warner Bros. Discovery Q2 profits name
After WBD CEO and president David Zaslav spoke to “combining the wealthy legacies” of Warner Bros. and Discovery right into a unmarried corporate, he reiterated the intent to “convey HBO Max and Discovery Plus” right into a unmarried providing. But the larger moments got here from J.B. Perrette, CEO and President of Global Streaming and Games.
While Zaslav Perrette each defined that we will want to look forward to the Investors Day match deliberate for the top of the 12 months, Perrette and his slides driven HBO Max some distance more difficult than it’s possible you’ll be expecting given the worries about HBO Max being shriveled right down to a easy HBO.
A slide for a Global Product confirmed massive HBO Max and Discovery Plus emblems, with bullets beneath stating they’re going to are living underneath a “unmarried world logo.” Interestingly sufficient, the carrier could have each “On call for & are living” functions, in addition to “Ad-free, Ad-lite and ad-only choices.” There shall be more than one tiers, which it seems that will upload sports activities.
Later on, one exec mentioned they’d be “doubling down” on HBO, one more reason to assume HBO Max has a robust long term.
Then, some other slide confirmed WBD’s agenda for each products and services, explaining that the U.S. gets the carrier first, in summer time 2023. It will debut in Latin America that fall, in Europe in early 2024 and within the Asia-Pacific markets in the course of 2024.
All of the distinguished HBO Max branding placement on this presentation means that the HBO Max logo and repair will live on into this new carrier — even though it is underneath the Discovery Plus branding.
Explaining the HBO Max issues
So, why have been we nervous about HBO Max (which we nonetheless consider is the most productive streaming carrier)? In the midst of a variety of chaos on Tuesday (August 2), with HBO Max’s Batgirl film being canceled after Warner put $90 million into it and the inside track that six HBO Max authentic motion pictures have disappeared from the carrier, different sneakers began to drop.
Tony Maglio at IndieWire (opens in new tab) then reported there have been extra cuts to come back, and it is all as a result of the need to minimize prices as they merge HBO Max and Discovery Plus. The query, after all is how are they going to merge those two products and services?
Then, on Wednesday afternoon, The Wrap (opens in new tab) dropped a stunning new document declaring “HBO Max construction is predicted to be particularly exhausting hit with layoffs with two assets striking the quantity of dev workforce cuts at 70%.” An insider informed The Wrap that HBO’s “workers are ‘all freaking out’ and that ‘all I do know is they are folding HBO Max into HBO, and there shall be redundancies.'”
Some of that would nonetheless occur, however we have now were given much less self belief in that document than ever.
Prior to this, all we had heard was once a rumor from Beyond The Trailer YouTuber Grace Randolph. Randolph is credited as insider through some (opens in new tab), whilst James Gunn (opens in new tab) does not appear to agree with her, to position it in a well mannered way. And her rumor now turns out truer than ever.
The nightmare state of affairs for HBO Max enthusiasts
Ahead of Warner Bros. Discovery’s Q2 profits on Thursday (August 4), Randolph tweeted (opens in new tab) an inventory of concepts that have been “RUMOR re the #WBD presentation.” None of those concepts have been offered.
Randolph claimed HBO Max would turn out to be part of Discovery Plus, “almost certainly as #HBO tab” and that the brand new carrier can be “eliminating #HBOMax scripted, general streaming that specialize in unscripted.”
This would principally pressure dependable HBO Max subscribers to shop for into a brand new (most probably dearer) streaming carrier to stay having access to the presentations and films they prefer, whilst most likely getting much less of that content material they like.
This additionally does not discuss to the place the approved HBO Max content material — seasons of Friends, the Studio Ghibli films and a lot more — would finally end up. Inside that new “HBO” tab? Considering that HBO Max’s branding is powerful at WBD, it looks like that will be the moniker on this sort of tab.
HBO Max turns into a piece in a brand new app?
What would occur subsequent? The Wrap quotes a Hollywood agent with wisdom of the plans as pronouncing “HBO could be very secure. If this was once ‘Game of Thrones,’ Casey Bloys gained.”
Yes, HBO Max simply re-invested within the guy in the back of its content material: Casey Bloys, HBO and HBO Max’s leader content material officer. A Variety (opens in new tab) document from July 2022 states that Bloys signed a brand new five-year contract with Warner Bros. Discovery. But simply assume like a cost-cutting government and have a look at his cut up titles. Why have him run each HBO and HBO Max’s content material, when he may just simply run one?
So it sort of feels like Bloys is coming again to run a unmarried group with a most probably smaller finances. WBD has been swinging the cancelation awl on a large number of scripted programming, together with TNT’s Snowpiercer, TBS’ The Last O.G. and HBO Max’s Made For Love.
Some HBO Max presentations may just stick round underneath the HBO logo, as Bloys has publicly mentioned The Flight Attendant season 3 is certainly conceivable. We’re hoping Peacemaker, Harley Quinn, Our Flag Means Death and Hacks are some of the presentations that live on.
After the presentation we are much more likely to consider that the HBO Max logo remains to be treasured.
Outlook: What occurs subsequent
The large query that Warner Bros. Discovery pros are most probably toying with is “which streaming carrier is extra necessary?” Now that Warner Bros. Discovery has made its Q2 presentation, we get the affect that it values each streaming carrier extremely.
Comparing HBO Max and Discovery Plus is absolutely like evaluating apples and pineapples. The former is predominantly made up of scripted programming, and the latter is most commonly unscripted content material.
At the top of the day, that is Discovery’s corporate now. And it is exhausting to examine them in need of to make their carrier a tab within any person else’s app. That mentioned, we would a lot relatively see a Discovery Plus hub in HBO Max than a HBO tab within the Discovery Plus app. HBO Max turns out like a logo that would are compatible Discovery inside it, proper?
As we knew, a unmarried, new streaming carrier shall be coming to comprise each Discovery Plus and HBO Max. The query about which facet “wins” shall be argued, however for now, it looks like HBO Max is a logo with a long term. But that is all optics. What issues extra is how a lot this new carrier prices (a worth hike turns out inevitable).
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