HBO Max lives… for now. But the streamer isn’t long for this life in its current form. During a Warner Bros. Discovery earnings, where we also learned more about Batgirl‘s cancellation and DC’s future, the company shared the news many saw coming, but not many are happy about. HBO Max and Discovery+ plus will combine into a brand new offering, and now we have a timeline for when this will all take place. Say whatever sentimental goodbyes you have to HBO Max starting now because it will be replaced with an all-new product in the summer of 2023. And the process of this merging has already resulted in some content sacrifices.
Warner Bros. Discovery didn’t reveal much about this product. We didn’t get to see a new HBO Max plus Discovery+ name, logo, or interface or anything like that. What the company did share was that this would be a single, global brand that put customer experience and quality first. The new platform will combine the “best of both” platforms and have capabilities such as on-demand and have live TV, ad-free, ad-lite, and ad-only options.
During the call, executives mentioned that HBO Max often had difficulty supporting a certain scale of audience, whereas Discovery+ had much better technological infrastructure behind it. Although Warner Bros. Discovery’s executives noted they supported HBO Max’s content, fans of the current shows streaming on the platforms feel nervous. And rightfully so, already Warner Bros. Discovery has canceled movies including Batgirl, Wonder Twins, and Scoob!: Holiday Haunt. Other Warner Bros. streaming exclusive movies were also removed from HBO Max without warning. And most recently, it was announced that HBO Max would remove nearly 40 titles from its collection. These titles include The Not-Too-Late Show With Elmo, Aquaman: King of Atlantis, Ellen’s Next Great Designer, and more. In particularly animated and unscripted areas of content are being culled at the streamer.
Additionally, much to the chagrin of HBO Max’s audiences, it seems like the platform will be doing away with its 45-day theatrical window to streaming initiative for Warner Bros. movies.Per Decider, the company will be moving away from “Project Popcorn.” This project meant that after being in theaters for 45 days, Warner Bros. movies would come to stream on HBO Max. It was an especially welcome initiative during the pandemic. Now, it sounds like the company will decide when theatrical movies will stream on a “case-by-case basis.” It’s presently unclear when the company will stop honoring the 45-day window.
Warner Bros. Discovery also shared an interesting view of both HBO Max and Discovery+ and what they bring to the table, adding to the disquiet. We will have to wait and see what this means for the shows, primarily on HBO Max, that don’t fit into the purview of this very narrow outline. And what it means for viewers, as well.
After the platform launches in the United States during the summer of 2023, the HBO Max and Discovery+ product will roll out in Latin America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. Warner Bros. Discovery aims to complete the roll-out by fall of 2024. Fingers crossed it goes… well.