Warner Bros. Discovery is getting ready to announce its combined HBO Max and Discovery Plus offering it will supposedly call “Max.” The media giant will officially reveal the service during a press event on Wednesday, which will cost up to $16 per month, according to a report from The New York Times.
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav had been planning on bringing the two services together ever since WarnerMedia merged with Discovery last year, and now that time is closely approaching. The combined service will dump Discovery Plus’ eclectic range of content, including Deadliest Catch, Property Brothers, and (my personal favorite) 90 Day Fiancé into a single vat with HBO’s more high-profile offerings, like The Last of Us and The White Lotus.
Sources close to the situation tell the NYT that the new “Max” service will offer multiple subscription tiers at different price points. That includes the $16 per month ad-free plan, which is the same price as the current ad-free HBO Max subscription, along with a cheaper ad-supported tier that I’m guessing could cost $10 per month if it follows HBO Max’s pricing.
According to the NYT, Warner Bros. Discovery may launch the service as soon as the next month or two, in line with Zaslav’s previous announcement that it would push up the combined service’s launch date to the spring of this year. And while rumors suggest that Warner Bros. Discovery no longer has plans to sunset its standalone Discovery Plus app, it’s unclear if that’s still in the cards.
It’s hard for me to imagine HBO Max and Discovery Plus meshing well together. Sure, it’ll have a huge range of content from a single hub, but seeing Game of Thrones beside Dr. Pimple Popper will just be... weird. I’m just hoping that Discovery Plus will remain as a standalone service, given that it’s far cheaper at $4.99 per month with ads and also has a lot of the really dumb and weird shows that I, regretfully admit, enjoy watching.
Wednesday’s event isn’t expected to be as flashy as the ones we’ve seen in the past (like the star-studded presentation put on by Apple in 2019). The company will reportedly lay out the service’s name and technological upgrades, as well as incorporate some movie and TV show announcements during the hour-long event.
While Warner Bros. Discovery has hopes to reach 130 million subscribers across HBO, HBO Max, and Discovery Plus by 2025, it added just 1.1 million subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2022, bringing up its total to 96.1 million globally. The company’s obviously expecting “Max” to drive up those rates, but it remains to be seen whether it’ll actually attract new subscribers that aren’t already with either service. Max will have to do something drastic — whether it’s adding amazing content or more competitive pricing — if it wants to be known for more than just its unimaginative name.