During this afternoon's Warner Bros. Discovery earnings call, President & CEO David Zaslav and his team wanted to make one thing clear. HBO and HBO Max are going to see an increase in content spending, not a decrease. "We're going to spend dramatically more this year and next year than we spent last year and the year before," Zaslav stated (though specific figures were not given out). Addressing the growing social media rumors that the streamer would see its programming slate cut dramatically, Zaslav added, "There was some buzz today about HBO Max [that] we're going to start doing less series, and our strategy is to embrace and support and then drive the incredible success that HBO Max is having. It's really to the culture and the taste of Casey [Bloys] and the team and the fact that they not only read the scripts, but they fight with all the creatives to make the content and storytelling as strong as possible. It's at a very unique moment. We think it's an extraordinary asset, an extraordinary advantage."
That said, as the merger between HBO Max and Discovery+ into one standard streaming service nears its Summer 2023 debut, content spending is expected to stay flat or increase slightly as the company looks to remain committed to most of its original programming. That said, the WBD did reveal that cuts were made to kids/family live-action & animation and to direct-to-streaming films. But when it comes to the DCU, Zaslav is looking to "reset" what's been done to institute a 10-year plan to create a stronger universe (much in the same vein as what Disney has with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and the MCU. One person in particular who will help them achieve that goal, HBO & HBO Max Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys, recently signed a new five-year deal & who Zaslav considers a "unicorn." And from the sounds of things, Bloys will have his team in place shortly. "Quality is what matters. Quality is what Casey and that team is delivering. It's the best team in the business. We're doubling down on that HBO team. They're all committed under contract, and we're going to spend dramatically more this year and next year than we spent last year in the year before," Zaslav explained. The President & CEO sounded excited about Bloys and his team getting to work on the WBD's new vision, adding, "The majority of the people on Casey's team have been locked up, Casey is here for the next five years, and we hope longer. He's truly a unicorn, his ability to relate to talent, to make content better, [and] his leadership. And you see it in what's been coming out of HBO, and how it's affecting the culture and what people were talking about."