HBO Max and Discovery Plus will relaunch as a single streaming service next year. While this is not totally surprising news, it is now good to have firm confirmation that the merging of the services is happening, and a slightly firmer date as to when it will happen. Still, there are plenty of aspects that remain unknown, including the name of the new service and any potential changes to pricing.
Back in 2021, it was first confirmed that WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc. were planning to merge. Earlier in 2022, the merger completed with the result being the new Warner Bros. Discovery company. Ever since then, there had been constant suggestions that the HBO Max and Discovery Plus subscription services would combine to become one new, larger service.
That’s now definitely happening with HBO Max and Discovery Plus expected to become a single service in the summer of 2023. The change will first take place in the United States before then going live in other regions later in 2023 and in early 2024. The confirmation came during the company’s Q2 earnings call earlier today. Unfortunately, very few other details were provided so it remains to be seen exactly when in the summer it will launch, what its new name will be, and if there will be any additional changes to the pricing.
However, it is worth noting that the company did reveal that it is considering launching a free service as well. Offering free access has become popular in recent years with Peacock a prime example of a service that offers both free and paid tiers. The free, ad-supported TV, or FAST, sector has seen massive growth lately, so it makes sense for Warner Bros. Discovery to be at least considering something similar. After all, HBO Max did recently introduce an ad-supported plan which brings the cost down to $9.99 per month. Likewise, Discovery Plus already offers an ad-supported plan as well. With this in mind, a free tier that provides very limited access to content from either or both services would seem like a logical next step.
Warner Bros. Discovery did also reveal its latest subscriber count, explaining that there were more than 90 million combined HBO, HBO Max and Discovery Plus subscribers at the close of the second quarter. As a sign of things to come next year, Warner Bros. Discovery did not offer individual subscriber details for HBO Max or Discovery Plus. The numbers were simply presented as one, just like the services will be in late 2023 and beyond.