The merger of HBO Max and Discovery Plus aims to cut subscriber losses with a broad offering that has “something for everyone in the house,” said Jan-Brik Peret, president of global broadcasting for Warner Bros. Discovery. The company also proposed the idea of a free streaming service that would be supported by ads.
The company plans to launch the integrated streaming service in the US next summer, and then in Latin America later that year. Europe and the Asia Pacific region will follow in 2024.
Warner Bros.’ goal will be Discovery 2025’s 130 million subscribers are paying a more than 40 percent increase from the total of 92 million subscribers to HBO Max and Discovery Plus. Netflix said last month that it has 220 million paying subscribers worldwide. Disney Plus said in May that it has about 138 million subscribers globally.
Perrett said Warner Bros. Discovery will aim to make the new streaming service profitable in the United States in 2024 and for the global broadcasting industry to generate $1 billion in revenue by 2025. No name or pricing system has been announced for the new service.
Warner Bros. is formed. Discovery in April, when AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit and Discovery completed their merger, starting with some 55 billion dollars in debt. As the Zaslav team looks to compete with the likes of Netflix and Disney and move to profitability, it has also canceled some legacy projects – like when it went out of business CNN Plus in AprilLess than a month after the service was launched.
During the Thursday earnings call, Zaslav also asserted that Warner Bros.’s discovery would make a “strategic shift” away from releasing films directly to broadcast, saying that this approach has less financial meaning in the long run than releasing films in theaters. “The idea of these expensive movies going straight to live streaming, we can’t find an economic argument for it,” he said.
These statements came after an investor asked why the company canceled the release of “Bat Girl.” The $90 million movie—with Leslie Grace in the title role and featuring Michael Keaton as Batman more than 30 years after he first wore the bonnet—is boxed alongside Wonder Twins and Scoob!: Holiday Haunt due to Warner Bros. Discovery’s new strategy.
The cancellations may also allow for a potential tax write-off, according to A Miscellaneous ReportAnd come in the middle complaints HBO Max users reported that some shows were suddenly removed from the service.
“Our focus will be on the stage,” Zaslav said. “And when we bring theatrical films to HBO Max, we find that they have a lot more value.”
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