HBO Max isn’t dead...yet. But come the summer of 2023 it will be, and there will be a new service replacing both HBO Max and Discovery Plus, Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav said on an earnings call today.
“HBO Max has a competitive feature set, but it has had performance and customer issues,” Zaslav said, being much more polite than I would be about the app, which regularly struggles to stream when people tune in for big appointment shows like Euphoria and Succession. He went on to claim Discovery Plus has a better tech stack and would become the core of the new service which will combine the content of HBO Max with the content and tech of Discovery Plus.
“We think that product is going to be superb,” Zaslav said later in the call, after assuring listeners that the company would not be going on an HBO Max-focused cancellation spree. This news comes after a week of anxiety for users. Early in the week, the company made the decision to remove the nearly complete Batgirl from the release calendar and shuttle it off to the vault. Additional films exclusive to HBO Max disappeared from the service—but are still available to buy or rent. The Wrap then reported that things were looking dire for HBO Max and the creative development teams working there.
Zaslav made efforts to calm those fears during the call and insisted the HBO Max programming overall was good and supported by the company at large. During the question and answer segment of the call Zaslav said HBO Max has started to become a brand in and of itself—and one specifically associated with quality. It’s not clear what Warner Brothers Discovery will call the new combined service, but it’s certain we will be hearing more as Zaslav shuffles his new company even more in the year to come.