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Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), the media conglomerate resulting from the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery, has recently announced that it has reversed its plans to merge Discovery+ with HBO Max into a single streaming service. Discovery+ will remain a standalone platform, offering low-cost and profitable content for its 20 million subscribers.
According to Jeff Cusson, a WBD spokesperson, the company’s plan for the enhanced platform remains unchanged, and the lower-priced offering of Discovery+ will be maintained in the US market. The Wall Street Journal reports that executives were concerned that a significant number of current subscribers may not be willing to pay a higher price for a service that features HBO Max content. As a result, they have decided to keep Discovery+ as a standalone platform.
The upcoming service that combines HBO Max and most of Discovery+ offerings is expected to be pricier than HBO Max, which is currently available for $10 per month with ads and $16 without ads. Discovery+, on the other hand, is priced at $5 per month with ads and $7 per month without ads. The new service will feature Shark Week content and lifestyle shows from the Magnolia Network, while other programming will be available on both platforms.
WBD has been working to cut billions in costs since its formation last year, pulling shows from HBO Max and canceling streaming-exclusive projects. The company is now gearing up to roll out its own free, ad-supported (FAST) service with streaming channels that feature content from across its portfolio. This move follows its recent deals with Roku and Tubi, which allow the company to offer a range of FAST channels featuring shows like Westworld and The Nevers.
While the merger between HBO Max and Discovery+ has been postponed, WBD is continuing to innovate and expand its offerings in the streaming market. With Discovery+ remaining as a standalone platform, subscribers can continue to enjoy low-cost and profitable content, while the company’s new FAST service will provide an ad-supported alternative for viewers.