Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav touted the success of the company’s turbulent megamerger during the company’s earnings call on Thursday, with repeated assurances that things are “working” — even though the company axed several shows and lost another $2.1 billion over the past few months, according to the company’s Q4 2022 earnings report. The combined company earned $11 billion in revenue this past quarter.
“It’s working in an increasingly challenging environment,” Zalslav affirms. “It’s working on direct-to-consumer — we are making meaningful progress on our goal to achieve real profitability in streaming... It’s working, and our new studio heads are hard at work putting their unmatched creative stamp on our future slate.”
HBO, HBO Max, and Discovery Plus added just 1.1 million global subscribers combined, bringing Warner Bros. Discovery’s total number of subscribers to 96.1 million across all its services. Although revenue in the company’s streaming segment increased by 6 percent last quarter, the division still posted a loss of around $217 million.
The company attributes the small bump in subscribers to the relaunch of HBO Max on Amazon Channels last December. While Warner Bros. Discovery also raised the price of its HBO Max subscription for the first time in January, that particular move is too recent to see any notable effect on revenue or subscriber count in this past quarter’s results.
“2023 will be a year of building”
Warner Bros. Discovery spent most of last year in turmoil as it underwent a massive restructuring following its merger with Discovery. This involved doing away with numerous shows and even finished movies in order to get tax write-offs, something CEO David Zaslav claims the company’s finally done with. According to Zaslav, the company has already signed deals for “multiple” new Lord of the Rings movies and plans on releasing new Superman and Batman movies in 2025.
We already know about the company’s plans to combine HBO Max and Discovery Plus into a single app, creatively called “Max,” but recent reports indicate that it no longer plans to shut down Discovery Plus in favor of the merged offering over concerns it could lose some of its existing Plus subscribers. Zaslav says the company plans on holding a press event about the new app on April 12th.
“Last year was a year of restructuring,” Zaslav said. “2023 will be a year of building.”