Warner Bros. Discovery Confirms HBO Max & Discovery+ Merge, Major Streaming Strategy Shift

All ears were listening to the Warner Bros. Discovery Q2 earnings call for investors on Thursday, as the studio revealed some major changes to its overall structure going forward — changes which don’t just affect HBO Max, but pretty much everything under the company’s banner.

The call was hotly anticipated after the studio pulled the plug on Leslie Grace’s nearly-completed “Batgirl” movie, a move which sent shockwaves through Hollywood. WB said it was due to the company’s shift to make theatrical films from its DC properties, something “Batgirl” simply wasn’t and was never supposed to be. They also axed an animated “Scoob!” film and began to pull original movies and series off HBO Max, leaving many to wonder what else might disappear going forward.

David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, kicked off the presentation by saying he believes they’re “on the right path to meet our strategic goals and really excel, both creatively and financially.” He also promised the studio would produce the most “compelling and diverse offerings in the world” across its various properties, including DC, Harry Potter and Hanna-Barbera, and “attract the best storytellers.”

He reinforced the company’s plan to “fully embrace theatrical” and take “aggressive steps to course correct” their previous direct-to-streaming plans for films — pointing to the successes of “The Batman” and “Elvis.” Zaslav also said the company’s main priority was “launching an integrated SVOD service” and plans to bring HBO Max and discovery+ together under one service. The name for the service was not revealed.

“I couldn’t be more excited about where we’re headed as a company,” he concluded, before JB Perrette — CEO and President, Global Streaming and Games — detailed the company’s new SVOD strategy.

“We have a lot of work to do,” he began, saying they don’t plan to follow the current streaming platform business model followed by so many other companies. Revealing plans for both ad-lite and ad-free options for its upcoming combined service, Perrette said it will be a home for films, premiums television, reality shows and programming from The Magnolia Network and CNN.

“There’s lots to do and we’re determined to get it right, which will take a bit of time,” he continued, saying the launch of the new service won’t happen until Summer 2023 in the US, before expanding around the world. Perrette said they will not “blindly seek to win the content spending wars” on programming and will instead “spend smartly” — and estimated they’d have 130 million total subscribers by 2025.

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