Another One Bites the Dust: HBO Max to Merge with Discovery +
Everything you need to know about the controversial merger.
Following the 2021 merge of WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc., Warner Bros. Discovery announced earlier this week that their two flagship streaming platforms, HBO Max and Discovery +, will follow suit. The merge will officially roll out in summer 2023, though bits of each platform will cross to the other in the coming months.
The decision has been met with backlash and confusion on social media, with many fans wondering why HBO Max, which is home to many Emmy-nominated shows, would find this move to be wise. The accompanying announcement of the cancellation of the $90 million film Batgirl, despite already being in post-production, sent fans into a frenzy questioning if their favorite HBO Max shows are safe.
Another cut in the merger is the automatic upload of all Warner Bros. movies to streaming after 45 days, along with the elimination of all HBO Max original films. “This idea of expensive films going direct to streaming — we can’t find an economic case for it, we can’t find an economic value to it, so we’re making a strategic shift,” said CEO David Zaslav.
The first big step in the merger will be the move of Magnolia content to HBO Max on Sept. 30, all shows under the production team of Chip and Joanna Gaines. The merger is also shifting some CNN content to the joint platform in August.
“We’re going to spend significantly more on the HBO Max product,” Zaslav said when asked if some HBO Max shows would get axed, avoiding the question. “We’re going to spend more money on content. We’re a content company.”
However Forbes reported some worse-sounding news: “Reportedly, WB is about to cut 70 percent of the production staff at HBO Max, with the aim that they simply do not want more scripted HBO Max-only content, as the service aims to fold up HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+ into one streaming service.”
Time will only tell which shows and movies are safe, and which ones will be cut.