Warner Bros. Discovery CEO: Free Streaming Service in the Works, Possibly for Classic Movies

Ben Bowman

As Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav continues tinkering with the streaming landscape, a FAST service is in the works. Zaslav confirmed this in the company’s Q2 earnings call today.

One possible option could offer the company’s classic film library for free. According to Reuters, one proposed service would open the Warner Bros. vault for free streaming of landmark movies like “Casablanca,” “The Maltese Falcon,” and “Citizen Kane.” Company leaders say that any FAST service will feature content that is “totally different” from the flagship streaming service.

(Slide from Warner Bros. Discovery Q2 Earnings Presentation)

Free ad-supported services have become cash cows for their parent companies. Pluto TV brings in nearly 70 million monthly active users for its parent, Paramount Global. Fox leaders have likened their Tubi platform to “TV on steroids,” with 51 million monthly active users. The business model is solid. Dust off some old content that can’t sell in the syndication market, partner it with cheap movies and shows from other production companies, and offer it up to anyone willing to sit through commercials.

FAST and AVOD services also make sense for audiences. While users may pay for prestige TV and buzzy new shows on SVOD platforms, these free services pack a powerful punch to round out an entertainment library. Free ad-supported viewership is up nearly 50% over the past two years. Right now, you can watch “Jaws,” “Inception,” “The Sixth Sense,” and “Groundhog Day” on Tubi. Freevee has “Deadpool,” “Office Space,” and “How to Train Your Dragon.” Pluto TV offers up “Beverly Hills Cop,” “The Birdcage,” and “Snowpiercer.” While these great films do have ads, they’re also not edited for content, which makes it a superior experience to catching the same movie on a channel like TNT.

One of the great reasons to subscribe to HBO Max is because of the rich history of the Warner Bros. library. Users have access to one-of-a-kind masterpieces from the past 100 years. Just take a look at these titles:

  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Casablanca
  • Citizen Kane
  • Singin’ in the Rain
  • Gone With the Wind
  • The Philadelphia Story
  • A Streetcar Named Desire
  • The Maltese Falcon
  • The Great Dictator
  • City Lights
  • Rashomon
  • Bicycle Thieves
  • Safety Last
  • King Kong
  • Stagecoach

If Warner Bros. Discovery were willing to offer these films up for free, anyone could get a masterclass in the golden age of cinema without paying a penny. Granted, it would be weird to see Scarlett O’Hara declare she’ll “never go hungry again,” followed by an ad for the Wendy’s Baconator, but a free movie is a free movie.

While it’s unclear if Warner Bros. Discovery will launch a FAST service and what content may be included, this would be a lucrative option. A standalone library of classic films may not draw as many eyes as a general entertainment offering, so it remains to be seen if this is the path the company takes.

HBO Max Classics

  • 風と共に去りぬ

    1939 M12 15


  • 雨に唄えば

    1952 M04 9

    In 1927 Hollywood, a silent film production company and cast make a difficult transition to sound.

    If you have never seen this musical classic, be aware that there is so much more than singing and dancing. It’s a truly funny takedown of Hollywood, and it still holds up almost 70 years later! Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor make this film a phenomenon.

  • 市民ケーン

    1941 M04 17

    Newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane (Orson Welles) is taken from his mother as a boy and made the ward of a rich industrialist. As a result, every well-meaning, tyrannical or self-destructive move he makes for the rest of his life appears in some way to be a reaction to that deeply wounding event.

    “Citizen Kane” was ranked the best film of all time in the American Film Institute's “100 Years…100 Movies” list, and it defended that title when the list was reconsidered 10 years later.

  • オズの魔法使

    1939 M08 15


  • カサブランカ

    1942 M11 26

    In Casablanca, Morocco in December 1941, a cynical American expatriate meets a former lover, with unforeseen complications.

    If you’ve never seen it, now is the time! It’s one of the best scripts ever, filled with quotable lines, fantastic supporting performances, and one of the most famous endings in movie history.

  • フィラデルフィア物語

    1940 M12 5


  • 欲望という名の電車

    1951 M09 18


  • マルタの鷹

    1941 M10 18


  • 独裁者

    1940 M10 15


  • 街の灯

    1931 M02 1


  • 羅生門

    1950 M08 26


  • キング・コング

    1933 M03 15
  • 自転車泥棒

    1948 M11 24


  • Safety Last!

    1923 M04 1

    When a store clerk organizes a contest to climb the outside of a tall building, circumstances force him to make the perilous climb himself.

  • 駅馬車

    1939 M03 3



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