Next summer, HBO Max and Discovery+ will be smushed together to form a single streaming service. They don’t have a name for it yet, but today’s Warner Bros. Discovery presentation said HBO Max had a “male skew” and Discovery+ had a “female” one, so the nameless 2023-set marriage is safe from the Supreme Court for now.
Leaving aside the WTF nature of that labeling and whatever “genredoms” are, this is a pretty big gamble that Warner Bros. Discovery is treating like the natural evolution of corporate number-crunching. They didn’t reveal what the price point would be for the service (which I’m calling DiscHBOvery+ for the time being), and WBD is aiming to boost the services’ combined subscriber numbers from around 92 million to 130 million by 2025.
At the same time, CEO David Zaslav was explicit in the company’s focus on theatrical releases for their films, which was part of the reasoning to shelve Batgirl; they didn’t feel it would do well in theaters and didn’t want to put something that’s supposed to be “big” directly onto a streamer. The new HBO Max Discovery + hybrid will maintain the ad-lite and ad-free subscription models, but it’s unclear what strategy the company is employing to bring so many new subscribers to the behemoth combined service or what kinds of exclusive deals and originals will survive the culling process.
To put it plainly, they have an ambitious goal, but there’s nothing unique about these services beyond the specific titles they have (which is the same thing every streaming service boasts).
Luckily, Warner Bros. Discovery executives have us covered with a clear explanation: