Discovery To Combine Discovery+ With HBO Max Post WarnerMedia Merger

Discovery Chief Financial Officer Gunnar Wiedenfels on Monday gave the most concrete details yet about the media company’s plans to combine its Discovery+ streaming service with HBO Max once the acquisition closes.

Wiedenfels said the services would come together in order to create a more consumer-friendly product, with HBO Max’s more “masculine” scripted series complementing Discovery’s reality shows, with its largely female audience.

“The buying power of HBO Max, combined with the holding power of Discovery’s content, I think is going to lead to a powerful DTC (direct-to-consumer) product,” Wiedenfels said at the annual HBO Media Conference. Deutsche Bank Communication, Internet and Telecommunications.

The merger of the two services, following Discovery’s $43 billion acquisition of AT&T by WarnerMedia, was an expected deal announced in May 2021. HBO Max is by far the larger service, wit AT&T revealing in January that the service ended 2021 with 73.8 million subscribers, while Discovery ended the year with 22 million subscribers. 

Wiedenfels said the company would have to “harmonize” the separate technology platforms to offer a single streaming product, with more than 200,000 hours of movies and TV episodes. There will be an ad-free service and a less expensive ad-supported tier. No information on what the direct effects on the streaming services will be has been released, including any possible name changes, or the final price to consumers.

The deal, which is scheduled to close in the second quarter, passed the US Justice Department’s antitrust review last month, clearing another key hurdle to closing. The deal also received full clearance from the European Commission in December 2021, paving the way for the deal to take place.

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