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Warner Bros. Discovery May Not Combine HBO Max With Discovery Plus After All

Company reportedly worries about losing subscribers who prefer the lower-priced existing service as a stand-alone

By: Jon Lafayette - Courtesy Broadcasting & Cable


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Warner Bros. Discovery might be flip-flopping on a plan to combine its HBO Maxand Discovery Plus streaming services into a single direct-to-consumer product.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the debt-laden WBD now plans to keep Discovery Plus as a stand-alone service.

The company has previously stated that its strategy would be to combine the products. A new name — Max — leaked out. Wall Street seemed to like the idea, as Warner Bros. Discovery stock popped up on news the amalgamation might happen in the spring, sooner than previously expected.

The combined service would have more programming and more scale to compete with Netflix and The Walt Disney Co. in the streaming wars.

But now, the strategy has changed. According to the Journal report,(opens in new tab) Warner Bros. Discovery execs were concerned that many of the 20 million subscribers to profitable Discovery Plus might drop out rather than pay for a higher-priced combined service.

Under the new plan, some Discovery Plus content will also be available on Max, including Shark Week and material from Magnolia Network, the company’s joint venture with Chip and Joanna Gaines.

To save money, Warner Bros. Discovery has been moving content off HBO Max.The company takes write offs on that content and is also able to reduce payments to the show’s creators.

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