(CelebrityAccess) — Newly formed entertainment titan Warner Bros. Discovery announced that the HBO Max and Discovery+ streaming services will merge into one entity.
Warner Bros. Discovery chief David Zaslav revealed the news during the company’s Q2 earnings call on Thursday with the hope that the plan will drive streaming subscription numbers and revenue.
The current separate streaming services of HBO Max and Discovery+ account for a combined of 92 million subscribers, according to financial filings from Warner Bros. Discovery. With the combined platform, they hope to reach a goal of 130 million global subscribers by 2025.
According to Zaslav, the company is weighing a free, ad-supported plan, an ad-lite plan, and an ad free version for the new platform, which the company expects to launch in the summer of 2023.
The shift in streaming strategy follows the cancellation of a number of high-profile products in recent weeks, including “Batgirl” was planned for release both to theaters and HBO Max, as well as a sequel to “Scoob!” the 2020 revist of the hoary Hanna Barbera animated mystery show.
Variety reported that the cancellations reflect cost-cutting measures and the decision not to release the projects via streaming may allow the studio to record some of their sunk costs as tax write-offs.
Additionally, Variety reported this week that a number of films that had been produced exclusively for HBO Max have been removed from the platform, despite not being included in the streamer’s monthly list of departing content.
The films, labeled as ‘Max Originals’ included “An American Pickle” staring Seth Rogan; a remake of The Witches, starring Anne Hathaway and Octavia Spencer; the romantic sci-fi comedy Moonshot; and Superintelligence, starring Melissa McCarthy.