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Discovery CEO Says Merger with WarnerMedia Gives Them a Library ‘As Big or Bigger Than Netflix’

Michael King

Discovery CEO David Zaslav is looking forward to the closing of the mega-merger between Discovery and Warner Brothers. He says the new combined company will be in a position to leverage its intellectual property to “nourish audience around the world.”

“We have great content,” Zaslav said. “A library almost as big or bigger than Netflix.”

Zaslav spoke during the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference on Tuesday morning.

“The more I look at Warner has, what HBO has, and see what (Warner head) Ann (Sarnoff), (AT&T CEO) John (Stankey) and (WarnerMedia CEO) Jason (Kilar) have been doing, together, I think we have the best IP menu in the world,” Zaslav said. “We’ve finalized our go-to-market strategy, and it feels really compelling. We think we have an offering that’s unmatched with an appeal to almost every demo.”

Zaslav said he has been spending two weeks a month in California attending studio and off-site meetings with executives and lawyers. The deal, he said remains on pace for closing by the middle of 2022. This is a sentiment that echoes statements last week by AT&T Senior Vice President Pascal Desroches.

“I couldn’t be more pleased with how the process is going. We are exactly where we thought we would be at this stage in the process,” Desroches said last week.

Zaslav said on Tuesday that what the new combined Warner Bros. Discovery would look like following the conclusion of the merger process was something he couldn’t go into just yet, adding that there were elements that he couldn’t get a look at until the deal came to fruition.

“There was a lot we couldn’t see and couldn’t talk about [until the deal $43 billion closes],” he said. He went on to say that the company had more than 140 work teams in motion ahead of the merger.

discovery+

discovery+ is a video streaming service that offers more than 55,000 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 US$4.99 / month or ad-free for US$6.99 / month.

Zaslav said the new combined Warner Bros. Discovery has a goal of growing to 200 million subscribers or more within two to three years. Only Netflix has that kind of reach now.

“We’re working hard at what this company will look like,” he said. “Now, we’re going to position ourselves, so (that) when we close we can affect that strategy and drive ourselves onto every (streaming) device around the world.”

The deal will bring together movie studio Warner Bros., along with linear TV networks like CNN, TBS, TNT, Discovery, HGTV, Food Network, TLC, and Animal Planet

It will also see HBO Max and discovery+ absorbed by the new parent. It is not yet known whether the two services will be merged. That seems unlikely. There is a chance there could be a bundle with discounted pricing for both services. CNN is also working on a streaming service to launch early next year.

HBO Max

HBO Max is a subscription video streaming service that gives access to the full HBO library, along with exclusive Max Originals, and access to every Warner Bros. film on HBO Max on the same day that it hits theaters.

HBO Max has two tiers, an ad-supported plan for US$9.99 and ad-free plan for US$14.99. HBO Max without ads also includes features like the ability to download offline and 4K streaming.

Subscribers will have access to hit HBO series like Succession, Mare of Easttown, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and more.

All HBO 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.

They also will get Max Originals that aren’t available to HBO channel subscribers, like “The Flight Attendant” (Kaley Cuoco), “Love Life” (Anna Kendrick), as well as reboots to “Sex In The City” and “Gossip Girl.”

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