Ever since Warner Media, the parent company of HBO Max, and Discovery, Inc., the parent company of Discovery+, merged together this March we’ve known that some kind of combined platform was in the cards. Now we finally have some details.
Today marked the second quarter earnings call for the new company, called Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD). Under the leadership of CEO David Zaslav there’s been some controversial moves like their decision to shelve the upcoming Batgirl film. There were also rumors that they would be cancelling HBO Max completely.
As a result, all eyes have been on WBD as new information comes out about their future plans.
Big Changes are Coming
The details released today were minimal. But this we know: WBD will have one service, under one brand in the United States in summer 2023. They will launch this streaming service in Latin America by the end of 2023 and Europe in 2024.
It’s unclear what this streaming service will be named. We also don’t know if this will be a completely new service or if one of the existing services will merge with the other (and which way that goes). The company plans to reveal more specifics later this year.
Another thing that was announced today was a free, ad-supported streaming service. Other services in this category include Pluto TV and The Roku Channel. They plan to roll this out after their other, paid service is “firmly established.”
So Much Is Getting Cancelled
In the meantime, much of the content from Warner Bros. Discovery’s portfolio has been on the chopping block as CEO Zaslav tries to reduce costs. Various shows from The CW, including what remains from the Arrowverse, have been cancelled. As have shows on TBS and TNT. CNN+ was cancelled just a month out from its release.
To the surprise (and frustration) of many, several movies have HBO Max Original movies have been removed from the service without warning. As was mentioned before, Batgirl, as well as an animated sequel to Scoob! were cancelled despite being far into production.
It remains to be seen what the newly restructured company will look like, or what movies and shows will be left. HBO Max will reportedly cut around 70% of their workforce as the company rolls back on HBO Max Originals.
One thing is for sure, though, Zaslav will try and milk out what revenue can be made from the DC Comics franchise. Joker, a film that grossed over a billion dollars at the box office, will be getting a sequel co-starring Lady Gaga in 2024. A complete reboot of DC Comics films is also expected.
Since it’s launch, HBO Max has made significant improvements that have made it a must-have for movie lovers. Some of the upcoming changes will shake things up in ways that may upset fans.
Despite it’s popularity, HBO Max is still not profitable. And the new CEO of WBD, who made a reported $246 million in 2021, is very concerned with the bottom line.