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HBO Max, Discovery+ Merging But D+ Wants to See Other People: Report

Warner Bros. Discovery is still merging HBO Max and Discovery+ content, but it's now decided to keep Discovery+ a stand-alone service, too.

Though plans are still underway for Warner Bros. Discovery to debut its new HBO Max & Discovery+-combined streaming service at some point this spring, a report in The Wall Street Journal notes a significant change in plans. Per WSJ's reporting: "Instead of combining HBO Max and Discovery+ in their entirety, the new platform will feature HBO Max content and most Discovery+ content, with Discovery+ remaining available as a stand-alone option, some of the people said." Sources close to the story explained that the move to also keep Discovery+ as a stand-alone service was to avoid losing "a significant chunk of the app's 20 million subscribers" who aren't looking for a price increase to access only D+ programming. Currently, ad-free HBO Max costs $15.99 a month (with an ad-supported version running at $9.99/month), while Discovery+ runs ad-free at $6.99/month (with ads, $4.99/month).

hbo max
Image: Warner Bros. Discovery

Is HBO Max Going to the "MAX"?

Thanks to sources speaking with CNBC back in December 2022, we might just know the name of the new platform. Though a Warner Bros. Discovery spokesperson would only say that a name is being considered and that the sources say the name is still being checked by WBD's legal team, there's a good chance that the "HBO" is getting dropped and "Max" will be the name (hey, at least there isn't a "+").

Image: HBO Max Screencap

Sources did make it clear that other names are still in consideration, so a final decision is still in play; during the discussions, the new streamer was reportedly code-named "BEAM." In addition, sources report that the app will share many similarities with Disney+, with WBD brands set as individual tiles (with HBO, Discovery, DC Comics, and Warner Bros. reportedly serving as landing hubs). In addition, the pricing structure for the new service is still being discussed, with no tentative figures shared other than it will cost more than what HBO Max currently costs. From the moment Zaslav took the reins of WBD, he made it clear that a combination of what HBO Max and Discovery+ have to offer would be a winning combination on a number of fronts. "These early green shoots bolster our strategic thesis that the two content offerings work well together and, when combined, should drive greater engagement, lower churn, and higher customer lifetime value," he explained during a recent company earnings call. The decision to remove "HBO" was reportedly meant to emphasize the diversity of content that the streaming service will offer beyond the HBO brand, as well as to build up further HBO's sub-brand as a home for prestige content.

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Ray FlookAbout Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought onto the core BC team in 2017.
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