Skip to main content

Combined HBO Max/Discovery+ streaming service to launch in summer 2023

We’re finally starting to get a little clarity about what the future looks like for HBO Max and Discovery, which now fall under the same roof, causing a bit of a shockwave in the entertainment industry not just from the platform side, but more recently by taking a pretty heavy hatchet to shows and movies.

During Thursday’s second-quarter earnings call, executives of the new Warner Bros. Discovery said to expect the launch of a new service that combines HBO Max and Discovery+ in the summer of 2023. The United States is up first, with 39 counties in Latin America to follow later in the year. Europe will launch in 2024 — though that doesn’t currently include the U.K. and Germany, followed by Asia-Pacific and new markets later in that year. It’s possible that some markets may see an accelerated rollout, however.

More details are to come at an investor event later this year.

“There’s lots to do, and we’re determined to get it right,” said JB Perrette, CEO and President, Global Streaming and Games. “We recognize that both of our existing products have shortcomings. HBO Max has a competitive feature set, but has had performance and customer issues. Discovery Plus has best-in-class performance and consumer ratings, but more limited features. Our combined service will focus on delivering the best of both.”

HBO Max and Discovery+ app icons.
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

In all, the combined service expects to have 130 million subscribers by 2025, up around 40 million from what the two services currently have. (They announced 92.1 million subscribers in the earnings report.)

There also will be a free, ad-supported version available at some point down the line, executives said, joining the current ad-free and ad-lite options. The content on that “FAST” option, for free, ad-supported streaming television, will be different than what’s on the flagship service, execs said.

Additionally, deals with AT&T have been extended. While details weren’t disclosed, it sounds like that’ll keep the HBO service included as part of AT&T’s internet and wireless subscriptions. The now-defunct Warner Media was owned by AT&T before the deal was reached to join with Discovery.

On the entertainment side, the recent decisions that have ended some current shows and killed others before they premiered — Batgirl, for example — were acknowledged, though that will do little to assuage fans who just lost their favorite show or were looking forward to a movie. (And, of course, there’s the death of CNN+, which was killed within a week of the Warner Bros. Discovery deal going through.)

“Our ambition is to bring Warner back and produce high-quality films,” CEO David Zaslav said. “We have done a reset. We’ve restructured the business. There’s going to be a team with a 10-year plan focusing just on DC … And as part of that, we’re going to focus on quality. We’re not going to release any film before it’s ready.”

Also look for a return to the traditional release schedules, with a renewed emphasis on theaters and streaming taking a back seat as a way to provide multiple waves for a given piece of content.

Editors' Recommendations

Phil Nickinson
Section Editor, Audio/Video
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
4K video will cost more on the new Max streaming service
Max streaming service logo.

The new Max streaming service — that is, the combined HBO Max and Discovery+ — is now official and will be available starting May 23. And with it comes a plethora of new series and shows. And execs made a big deal about pricing, and that it'll be the same as the existing price of HBO Max.

But that wasn't entirely true.

Read more
New Max streaming service combines HBO Max and Discovery on May 23
Shot from the Max event.

Warner Bros. Discovery today finally detailed the next generation of the combined companies' streaming service, combining thousands of shows and movies under one roof. The reimagined service is named simply, Max. It'll be available in North America on May 23, in Latin America in the fall, and in Europe in early 2024.

The new Max service will cost the same as the current HBO Max scheme. The ad-free plan remains $16 per month, or you can do $10 per month if you don't mind advertising. And a new "Ultimate" plan will get you 4K viewing, four concurrent streams, and up to 100 downloads for $20 a month.

Read more
Discovery+ reportedly won’t be killed off
Discovery+ app icon on Apple TV homescreen.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, today reports that Warner Bros. Discovery has changed plans to completely merge the Discovery+ streaming service with HBO Max and instead will allow the former to live on as a separate subscription.

Official details about the new service remain extremely scarce, including what it'll be called. But it's still in the works, and WSJ says that the plan is for Discovery+ to remain as a lower-cost option with less content. The new service would include Discovery content alongside HBO content, plus more from the greater Warner Bros. catalog, and is expected to be available later this year.

Read more