What’s happening at HBO Max? What does this have to do with Discovery+?
HBO Max, home of prestigious HBO TV shows, Warner Bros. and DC Comics, plus original series like the revival of “Sex and the City” “And Just Like That” is seeing major changes this week, as its new owner charts a new strategy for the streamer and its affiliated entertainment brands, including Warner Bros. Film Studios, TBS, TNT and CNN.
But in the summer of 2023, from the United States, Warner Bros. Discovery will begin the process of combining HBO Max with its corporate cousin Discovery+, the reality TV home of Food Network, HGTV, Magnolia Network, TLC and Discovery Channel. This will create a large streaming service under the Warner Bros. umbrella. Discovery. But what does this really mean for subscribers to each service?
We explain why popular streaming services, which have a combined 92 million subscriber households (most to HBO Max), are getting a makeover.
Why is HBO Max changing at all? Why does it combine with Discovery+?
HBO Max is the streaming service launched by the company formerly known as WarnerMedia, which included the premium cable channel HBO, but also programming from cable networks such as TBS, TNT and CNN and the Warner Bros. movie studio. WarnerMedia was previously owned by AT&T, but the conglomerate announced in 2021 that it would spin off WarnerMedia and merge it with Discovery, a company that includes networks like the Discovery Channel, HGTV, Food Network and the Discovery+ streaming service. The merger became official in April and the new company is now called Warner Bros. Discovery.
The deal put HBO Max under new management, with its own ideas of what HBO Max should be. CEO David Zaslav confirmed what management had previously said during an earnings call with investors on Thursday: Warner Bros. Discovery plans to eventually combine HBO Max and Discovery+ into one. “Our main priority is to launch an integrated (streaming) service,” he said. The service will roll out in the US in the summer of 2023 (and later in other markets), and the company will release more specific details in the coming months.
In the meantime, bits of Discovery+ are heading to HBO Max, and vice versa.
What Discovery shows are coming to HBO Max? magnolia and more
HBO Max announced Thursday that “select content” from Magnolia, currently available to stream on Discovery+, will arrive on HBO Max on September 30, including “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” “Magnolia Table with Joanna Gaines,” and all five seasons of the original “Fixer Upper.” The Gaines’ latest series, “Fixer Upper: The Castle,” will simulcast on Magnolia Network, HBO Max and Discovery+ on October 14.
What about Warner Bros. movies? on HBO Max?
On Wednesday, news broke that Warner Bros. had deleted a planned and nearly completed ‘Batgirl’ movie which was to air on the service, as well as “Wonder Twins” and “Scoob!
In addition to the canceled movies, fans and reporters noticed on Thursday that six HBO Max original movies had been pulled from the platform, including “Moonshot,” starring Cole Sprouse and Lana Condor, and Seth Rogen’s “An American Pickle.” (Titles are still available for purchase on video-on-demand sites).
During the earnings call, Zaslav was firm that he doesn’t believe in direct-to-streaming movies. “We have a different view on direct streaming movies and have taken steps to correct the previous strategy,” he said, referring to former CEO Jason Kilar’s plan to offer original movies. on HBO Max.
What other changes could come? For starters, CNN is switching to Discovery+
Discovery+ announced Thursday that CNN programs such as “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy,” “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” and “United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell” will be available on Discovery+ on August 19 in a new “CNN Originals” center. (Bourdain’s first travel and gastronomy fair, “No reservations,” was already on Discovery+ as it originally aired on The Travel Channel). Earlier this year, the CNN+ streaming service, was dropped by Warner Bros. management. Discovery after only one month.
As for other changes, children and family programming is no longer a priority for the new company. CFO Gunnar Weidenfels mentioned on the earnings call that they are unlikely to pursue any new projects, although the company has a library of content ranging from “Looney Tunes” to “Animaniacs”.
Zaslav also spoke about fears that HBO is cutting the number of shows he produces. “We’re going to spend a lot more on the HBO Max product,” he said. “We’re going to spend more money on content. We’re a content company.” (He didn’t say if that meant fewer shows but more expensive).