Today, Warner Bros. Discovery held its first quarterly earnings meeting as one company. This comes on the heels of canceling the highly publicized Batgirl movie.
One of the expected announcements to emerge from the webcast is that HBO Max and Discovery+ will launch in the U.S. as a single streaming service in the summer of 2023. This according to an optimistic JB Perrette, CEO and president, global streaming and interactive, Warner Bros. Discovery, speaking on the company’s Q2 earnings call.
Neither Perrette or CEO David Zaslav announced what the new service will be, nor did execs discuss pricing. “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.”
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.
In the second quarter, WBD’s HBO Max, HBO and Discovery+ subscribers combined were 92.1 million, up 1.7 million from 90.4 million the prior quarter. That’s up 22% 75.8 million on a Pro-forma basis versus a year earlier.
The newly formed HBO Max-Discovery+ will combine thousands of hours of scripted and unscripted programming.
By 2025, WBD expects to have 130 million global streaming subscribers and that its direct-to-consumer businesses will generate $1 billion in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). Perrette said the company expects EBITDA losses for the streaming division to peak in 2022, with long-term margin potential of 20% or more.
“We’ve had a busy, productive four months since launching Warner Bros. Discovery, and have
more conviction than ever in the massive opportunity ahead. We have the most powerful creative
engine and bouquet of owned content in the world, as highlighted by our industry-leading 193
Emmy nominations, and we intend to maximize the value of that content through a broad
distribution model that includes theatrical, streaming, linear cable, free-to-air, gaming, consumer
products and experiences, and more, everywhere in the world. We’re confident we’re on the right path to meet our strategic goals and really excel, both creatively and financially, and couldn’t be more excited about the future of our company,” noted Zaslav.