Two streaming platforms are about to collide… eventually. WarnerMedia and Discovery are in the midst of a media merger, and once they unite, their streaming platforms, Discovery+ and HBO Max, will too. Yep, that means our chaotic Upper East Siders will come face to face with an endless cycle of home renovation couples. But on the other hand, Mare Sheehan and Guy Fieri would absolutely vibe so they do belong in a streaming home together.
Discovery’s CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels made the announcement at Deutsche Bank’s 30th Annual Media, Internet and Telecom Conference. (We first saw this at The Verge.) Right now, it sounds like the company, called Warner Bros. Discovery after the merger takes hold, plans to ease into its streaming merge. Like the streaming blended family it’ll be soon enough. (Some time during Q2, it sounds like.) So instead of pushing the two streaming platforms into a single streaming hub right off the bat, that particular push is down the road. Which makes more sense given how finicky HBO Max already is—as the Mare of Easttown finale woes still haunts me to this day. Merging one large and slightly disorganized content library with another takes time. And hopefully they find a way to properly sort out the layout. (And the ability to rewind. Those Property Brothers just seem so quippy.)
In the interim, Warner Bros. Discovery will instead bundle their two streaming homes. They’re certainly not the first media company to push a bundle for varying streaming services. Paramount currently offers a bundle for its flagship Paramount+ platform (initially called CBS All Access) and Showtime. However, eventually it will merge Showtime content into its Paramount+ offerings. Additionally, Disney has a whopping three streaming platforms—Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+—which it offers as a bundle. Although, given its many recent announcements, from content changes to ad-supported prices, it sounds like the company is giving Disney+ a makeover. And Hulu’s days as an independent platform might be numbered.
Wiedenfels didn’t mention any pricing on how much the combined streaming platform will cost. Although he did say it will have ad-free and ad-supported tiers, which HBO Max and Discovery+ both currently have. I am curious, though, about how this merged platform will work and whether people will really want to pay for it. HBO Max and Discovery+ have extremely different content from one another. Content that each has a wide audience. But to what cost?
Hopefully we’ll learn more before HBO Max officially heads to Flavortown. I’ll be waiting with a bowl of dragon’s breath chili.