We’ve been waiting for news of HBO Max and Discovery Plus turning into one service. That merger was announced last year, but a new report has muddied the waters.
according to The Wall Street Journal (Opens in a new tab), there has been a “shift of strategy” in plans to merge HBO Max and Discovery Plus. Specifically, the report states, “Instead of combining HBO Max and Discovery+ entirely, the new platform will offer HBO Max content and most Discovery+ content, with Discovery+ remaining as a standalone option, some people said.”
In other words, HBO Max and Discovery Plus will continue to merge into a new service — rumored to be titled Max, yes, just Max — but Discovery Plus will remain the same as it currently is. Basically, Discovery Plus users won’t be forced into the new service.
This decision is said to be related to parent company Warner Bros.’s concern. Discovery about the loss of some of its 20 million Discovery Plus subscribers who are unwilling to spend more on this new service. Overlapping content may include content such as Shark Week programming, and shows from Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network. The latter has been streaming recently to HBO Max (which Tom’s Guide currently ranks as the top streaming service).
Analysis: WBD doesn’t seem to care about upsetting HBO Max subscribers
This change shows how Warner Bros. views the film. Discovery HBO Max and its subscribers: They worry less about losing those fans by pushing them into a higher price category.
The new premium service, of course, will cost more than HBO Discovery Plus which starts at $4.99 per month with ads, and $6.99 per month without. HBO Max is $9.99 with ads, $15.99 per month without ads.
That’s odd, as it’s hard to assume that HBO Max customers would be less interested in maintaining their service — as Discovery Plus subscribers would if those rumors were true — if they had to pay more.
But what’s really exciting here is that the numbers say there are more HBO/HBO Max subscribers. Last November, we learned that there were a total of 92.1 million subscribers across HBO, HBO Max, and Discovery Plus. If there are 20 million Discovery Plus subscribers, as the Wall Street Journal notes, that means there are more HBO customers — all paying more than Discovery Plus subscribers — to worry about keeping.
As mentioned above, we at Tom’s Guide love HBO Max, but this forced change (combined with the recent $1 price hike) has the potential to be frustrating and off-putting. Especially if WBD gives preferential treatment to Discovery Plus subscribers.