HBO Max’s ‘Skews Male’ has fandoms ahead of the merger

HBO Max’s ‘Skews Male’ has fandoms ahead of the merger

  • HBO Max and Discovery+ will be merged into one service.
  • Warner Bros. Discovery announced that it aims to launch the new streaming service in the summer of 2023.
  • It laid out how the services appeal to different demographics, and would complement each other.

It was inevitable: HBO Max and Discovery+ will be combined.

Warner Bros. Discovery announced details of the plan during its second-quarter earnings call on Thursday, its first quarter as a company. The move has been widely expected since WarnerMedia and Discovery completed their blockbuster merger earlier this year.

The company plans to launch the new service first in the US next summer. It aims to get 135 million global subscribers by 2025. It did not announce pricing details.

But Warner Bros. Discovery detailed how it views each service and how they would complement each other.

It said HBO Max skews male, specializes in scripted content and deal viewing, and is “the home of fandom”.

Discovery+, meanwhile, skews female, focuses on unscripted programming and comfort viewing, and is about “genres” more than “fandoms.”

hbo max discovery plus graphics


Warner Bros. Discovery


Max initially struggled to convert existing HBO subscribers when it launched, but has since established itself as a streaming player. Max added 3 million subscribers in the first quarter of the year, the last quarter under the company’s former parent AT&T — bringing the total number of Max and HBO customers to 76.8 million. Discovery had reported that Discovery+ had 24 million subscribers at the end of Q1.

But on Thursday, Warner Bros. reported Discovery that it had 92.1 million subscribers across all its platforms (HBO, Max and Discovery+) and did not break down the numbers by service. At the end of the 1st quarter, the services would have had more than 100 million subscribers in total.

Warner Bros. Discovery said this was because it did not include “10 million legacy Discovery non-core subscribers and unactivated AT&T mobility subscribers from Q1 subscribers.” Based on that, the company said it added 1.7 million global subscribers in the quarter.

Currently, Max costs $15 per month for the ad-free plan and $10 per month for the ad-supported plan. Discovery+ costs $7 for the ad-free plan and $5 for the ad-supported one.

Combining the two services would make for an even more formidable streamer, adding to Discovery’s expansive library of unscripted content with Max’s collection of prestige TV and movies.

However, speculation about Max’s future swirled this week.

Variety reported that six exclusive movies were quietly removed from the service this week (they are still available to rent on video-on-demand platforms). And Warner Bros. Discovery canceled the release of a “Batgirl” movie that was intended for Max.

The decisions reflect how Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming strategy is much different than the WarnerMedia regime: fewer direct-to-streaming films and more theatrical releases.

On Thursday’s earnings call, CEO David Zaslav said the company “will fully embrace theatrical” because it “creates word of mouth buzz as movies move from streaming and beyond.”

The company is also looking to cut costs wherever possible to appease Wall Street, and is expected to take a tax write-down on “Batgirl,” which costs $90 million to make, according to Variety and The Hollywood Reporter.

But based on the timeline posted by Warner Bros. Discovery on Thursday, it looks like Max isn’t going to change too drastically anytime soon.

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