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HBO Max Adds BBC Earth Documentaries; Continuing Preparations for Eventual discovery+ Merger

Matt Tamanini

While the full integration of the services won't come until summer of 2023, the melding of discovery+ and HBO Max continues from CEO David Zaslav and his team at Warner Bros. Discovery. It appears that some of the most interesting and educational documentaries on discovery+ have migrated over to HBO Max as the latter streamer is now home to 14 films from the BBC Earth family.

The films — many of which are narrated by Sir David Attenborough — are still able to be streamed on discovery+, but now join Magnolia Network programming in making the jump from their original home on discovery+. The Chip and Joanna Gaines programming slate will become available on HBO Max beginning at the end of next month. The two sets of programs are interesting additions to HBO Max, as they represent perhaps some of the most “high-brow” content available on discovery+. By having the BBC and Magnolia titles be the first to transition to HBO Max, this could be simply the first steps in getting subscribers ready for WBD’s future streaming plans.

As of last summer, discovery+ boasted over 4,300 titles in its library, while HBO Max had 3,500. Combined, that total put them ahead of Netflix and behind only Prime Video in terms of sheer volume. With such large — and generally disparate — collections, it is interesting that WBD execs are looking to comingle content with less than a year before the services unify.

Perhaps this is in an effort to prepare the subscribers of the prestige TV platform for what is to come in the future by slowly introducing them to the non-traditional types of content that will eventually be available on the combined streamer.

BBC Earth Documentaries Now Available on HBO Max

  • “Africa”
  • “The Blue Planet”
  • “Blue Planet II”
  • “Dynasties”
  • “Frozen Planet”
  • “The Hunt”
  • “Life”
  • “Life Story”
  • “The Matching Game”
  • “Nature’s Great Events”
  • “A Perfect Planet”
  • “Planet Earth”
  • “Serengeti”
  • “Seven Worlds One Plant”

The slow and calculated muddying of the programming boundaries between WBD’s streaming services before their eventual integration is not limited to just nature and home renovation titles. Last week, discovery+ added a content hub for CNN original films and docuseries, following the spring closing of CNN+. CNN titles now available on the streamer include “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy,” ”Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” ”United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell,” and ”This is Life with Lisa Ling”; “Parts Unknown” is also available on HBO Max.

These recent content reorganizations are happening while Warner Bros. Discovery is facing massive backlash over the cancelation and removal of scores of content from HBO Max in an effort to cut costs.

At this point, no one really knows what WBD’s eventually combined platform will look like, what it will be called, or how content discovery will work on a platform with such monstrous inventories, but one thing that we do know for sure is that Zaslav’s company has been planning to integrate the two streamers since before Discovery’s acquisition of WarnerMedia was announced. So with less than a year until it finally happens, there will likely be far more of these changes and configurations happening before everything finally falls into place.


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