Full Live Sports, News Offerings Will Not Initially Be Included on New WBD Streaming Platform; Could Be Added Later
The evolution of streaming at Warner Bros. Discovery is proceeding unabated. The company is planning a large-scale press event on April 12 to fully lay out details regarding its new streaming platform, which will see most of the content from discovery+ and everything from HBO Max combined into a new service, while still keeping discovery+ as a standalone streamer.
However, there were a few new details about the service that company executives gave during WBD's fourth-quarter earnings report on Thursday that raised some eyebrows. WBD representatives spoke with industry analysts about the service, and what kind of content users could expect to see.
Sadly for those hoping the merged service would have enhanced sports offerings and live news content, it sounds as if the company is determined to keep those assets on its linear television networks and use its streaming services as a home for entertainment, at least for the time being.
“The focus right now is obviously continuing to on the expanded entertainment offering,” said WBD streaming head JB Perrette, “and we think the complementary of the HBO Max and discovery+ entertainment offering is significant and will be a major step forward for consumers who are looking for simplified number of choices, more breadth of options in terms of content all in one place and for good value. That’s what we’re looking to primarily deliver.”
However, neither Perrette nor WBD CEO David Zaslav shut the door completely on live sports and news appearing on the streaming service in the future.
“In addition to all of our entertainment and nonfiction, we do have all of our news and sports,” Zaslav said. “And that gives us real optionality in terms of nourishing audience for growth and for reduction in churn and for overall price value.”
Perrette reiterated that sports and news are big cornerstones of WBD content, but when it comes to streaming, they are more future additions, than initial draws for the forthcoming combined service.
“As David said, we’ve got sports and news that today are really untapped in the streaming world, and those are optionality for what we might be willing to do in the future, and we’ll share more of that on [April 12] with you with more detail,” continued Perrette. “All of our sports in the U.S. and news content eventually could help us drive further scale and pricing in the years ahead.”
From those comments, it sounds as if WBD is simply trying to walk before it runs in regard to its new, unified streaming platform. The company has an impressive array of live sports offerings available via the TNT, TBS, and other linear networks, and executives have stated in the past the company has the flexibility in its contracts with major sports leagues to put more games on streaming.
There has already been some experimenting with live sports on HBO Max. The service will continue to host soccer matches featuring both the men’s and women’s U.S. National soccer teams. WBD also uses its streamers to host live sports quite frequently in Europe, where discovery+ streams live soccer, tennis, cycling, and the Olympics, as well as other offerings.
It sounds as if the experience with discovery+ in Europe is a learning opportunity that WBD executives are not ignoring.
“We use news and sports quite effectively in Europe, and we’ve learned a lot about when it does work and when it doesn’t,” Zaslav said.
For now, HBO Max/discovery+ users who are hoping to see more live sports and news via streaming will just have to be patient. The company will likely add those features to its new streaming platform at some point, but those additions seem years away, not weeks or months.
Max is a subscription video streaming service that gives access to the full HBO library, along with exclusive Max Originals. There are hubs for content from TLC, HGTV, Food Network, Discovery, TCM, Cartoon Network, Travel Channel, ID, and more. Watch hit series like “The Last of Us,” “House of the Dragon,” “Succession,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and more. The service changed its name from “HBO Max” on May 23, 2023.
Max has three tiers, an ad-supported plan for $9.99 an ad-free plan for $15.99, and the ultimate tier that includes 4K for $19.99.
All Max subscribers will get the full libraries of shows like “Friends”, “The Big Bang Theory”, “South Park”, “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, “The West Wing”, and more.
You can choose to add Max as a subscription through Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, or other Live TV providers.7-Day Trial
discovery+ is a video streaming service that offers more than 70,000 episodes of 2,500+ current and classic shows from several popular TV brands including Discovery, Investigation Discovery, HGTV, TLC, Food Network, A&E, Lifetime, and History.
The service primarily focuses on non-fiction programming or “reality” TV shows.
discovery+ is available with limited ads for $4.99 / month or ad-free for $6.99 / month.