The new streaming platform will combine scripted dramas like HBO’s «Succession,» «White Lotus» and «House of the Dragon» with Discovery’s staple unscripted shows like cooking, home improvement and survival shows.
The new service will launch on May 23.
«Max is the one to watch because it’s home to shows that have a massive effect on people and culture,» Discovery CEO David Zaslav said during a presentation in Burbank, California. «He is the streaming version of TV to watch.»
Warner Bros. Discovery executives have been planning to combine HBO Max and Discovery+ for more than a year as part of the rationale for the merger of Discovery Communications and WarnerMedia, which was divested from AT&T in April 2022.
The price will remain the same as current HBO Max plans: $9.99 per month with commercials and $15.99 per month without ads. A new $19.99 tier labeled «Max Ultimate Ad Free» will enable four simultaneous streams, up to 4K resolution, and 100 offline downloads.
The service will add several new series, including a DC Comics series «The Penguin,» a spin-off of the hit sitcom «The Big Bang Theory,» as well as a new Magnolia Network series from Chip and Joanna Gaines.
The company also announced another «Game of Thrones» spin-off prequel and a series based on the «Harry Potter» franchise, starring author JK Rowling.
Max should allow Warner Bros. Discovery to better compete with Netflix and from Disney suite of streaming services (Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+) globally as the streaming wars mature in the coming years. Zaslav has said that his company’s direct-to-consumer products will break even in 2024 and produce $1 billion in profit by 2025.
Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News and CNBC, is a co-owner of Hulu.
“It gives us a great opportunity as a company,” Zaslav said. “Together, these studies allow us to control our own destiny. They give us long-term commercial optionality. We are the largest and most successful content creator in this industry.”
Legacy media companies have moved away from traditional pay TV and created their own subscription streaming products like Millions of Americans cancel cable every year.
Warner Bros. Discovery had more than 96 million global streaming subscribers, whether on HBO Max, HBO or Discovery+, at the end of the fourth quarter. About 55 million of those customers came from the US and Canada. The average monthly revenue per user was $7.58.
“Maintaining subscriptions is just as important as adding subscriptions,” Zaslav said Wednesday.
Max will include new tech features, including the launch of a default kids profile that comes with parental controls. The company also announced new technology features such as expanded personalization, a new content navigation menu at the top of the app, and featured promotions from prominent brands and genres.
Warner Bros. Discovery executives said in previous investor calls that one focus for the new service would be to revamp and improve its technology. On Wednesday, JB Perrette, CEO of streaming and gaming, noted that three-quarters of HBO Max’s viewership comes from the home screen alone, compared to Discovery+, where most usage comes from screens deeper inside. the application.
On the launch date of the new service, HBO Max will be updated as the Max app for most users. Some users on certain platforms will be prompted to make the switch when they enter the app, Perrette said.
Discovery+ as an app will not be affected, and Perrette noted that the company «doesn’t want to leave any of its profitable subscribers behind.»