It's been a somewhat tumultuous week for Warner Bros, and a pretty nerve-wracking one for anybody eagerly anticipating some of the studio's upcoming projects. To close the week, the company has revealed plans to merge its streaming serviceS, HBO Max and Discovery+, into one starting this time next year.
Warners Bros. Discovery announced the merger plans and the initial details during an earnings call on Thursday (via IGN). The new combined streaming service, the name of which wasn't mentioned, will rollout in North America at some point during the summer of 2023. The service will then be expanded to Latin America in the fall, parts of Europe where HBO Max is currently available in early 2024, and then other regions later that year.
“Putting all the content together was the only way we saw to make this a viable business,” Warner Bros. Discovery's president of global streaming and games JB Perrette explained. Perrette added that the goal is for the service to offer something for everyone in the household. Something that has come somewhat underfire since the call as it was revealed Warner Bros. believes HBO Max has a "male skew" while Discovery+ appeals more to women.
What wasn't discussed is what exactly this new hybrid streaming service will be called, although it was hinted at a number of times during the call that the HBO name will be dropped entirely. There will seemingly be ad-free and ad-supported options available, with Perrette adding that they will be looking into options for customers interested in the “free, ad-supported space” in the future. No prices were mentioned, but it was confirmed Discovery+ subscribers will eventually have to pay more than they do now once the rollout begins.
Warner Bros. has received a fair bit of backlash this week after it unceremoniously canceled the almost finished Batgirl movie. While the finer details of why this happened are somewhat complex, it appears the movie's budget became larger than expected as higher-ups argued over whether it should launch exclusively on HBO Max or get a theatrical release. The sudden rash moves made by Warner Bros. this week had some fearing for the future of MultiVersus, especially after its first season was delayed with very little notice. Apparently, the game will be unaffected by everything going on behind the scenes.
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