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HBO Max and Discovery+ are merging. Here’s when, why and what’s changing

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HBO Max merge

The recent merger of Warner Bros (formerly owned by AT&T) and Discovery, Inc is a big deal, and now the new company has revealed its plans for streaming and content in the future. That includes merging HBO Max and Discovery+ into one streaming service.

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What Merger?

Warner Bros. has gone through many different mergers and sales since it was founded in 1923, and AT&T purchased the company in 2018 (which was challenged by the U.S. Justice Department at the time). Under AT&T’s umbrella, the company became WarnerMedia and launched the HBO Max streaming service. Warner also owns HBO, CNN, DC Films, New Line Cinema, and other studios and channels.

However, just three years later, AT&T started plans to sell WarnerMedia to Discovery — the owner of the Discovery+ streaming service, HGTV, the Food Network, and Animal Planet, to name a few properties. The new combined company, called Warner Bros. Discovery, officially came into existence in April 2022 and started making changes almost immediately.

How Will HBO Max & Discovery+ Change?

While the subscription pricing for the new streaming service will be announced later, Zaslav confirmed that the company is considering a free, ad-supported version of the combined platform. HBO Max’s ad-supported tier currently costs $10 a month, and the monthly cost of Discovery+ starts at $4.99.

One slide from the executive’s Aug. 4 presentation that gained widespread criticism on social media explained how the merger would bridge a gender gap between demographics. Zaslav claimed their research showed that HBO Max has a male skew, emphasizing scripted content, appointment viewing, and being the “home of fandoms.” Meanwhile, he said Discovery+ is watched more by females who prefer unscripted, laidback “comfort viewing.”

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WBD did not announce what the new brand name

-for the merged service will be, nor did execs discuss pricing for the unified streamer. Warner Bros. Discovery is initially focused on the ad-supported and ad-free versions of the combined HBO Max-Discovery+, Perrette said but is also “exploring how to reach customers in the free, ad-supported space” with content that is totally different from what’s on the premium VOD services.

Warner Bros. Discovery previously released intentions to combine the two streaming platforms and CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels strategized a way to combine the streamers in March. The merged HBO Max-Discovery+ will bring thousands of hours of programming ranging from scripted to reality and documentary content. Currently, HBO Max is available for $14.99/month without ads and $9.99/month with ads in the U.S. Discovery+ is priced at $6.99/month without ads and $4.99/month with ads.

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