There’s a lot of jitters in the air surrounding HBO Max this week, especially after the announcement during Thursday’s earnings call that HBO Max will merge with Discovery+ to become a single streaming platform.
The news came months after HBO’s parent company, WarnerMedia, merged with Discovery, later dropping evidence that HBO Max had scaled back its original content.
Warner Bros. announced on Tuesday that it has canceled the screening of the already filmed original “Batgirl” movie, which cost an estimated $90 million. Soon, no less than six Warner Bros. films were revealed. It has been pulled from the streaming service, including “Moonshot”, “Superintelligence” and “An American Pickle”.
Warner Bros. said. Discovery said Thursday that a combined version of the two streaming devices will launch next year, with the new name coming out. The shift comes in the wake of CEO David Zaslav’s new ethos that says with more content than ever before, quality trumps quantity.
“Content that resonates with people is much more important than just having a lot of content,” Zaslav said during Thursday’s call with analysts. In other words, at a time when nearly every piece of content ever is available to consumers across any number of free and paid services, organization, quality, and branding have never been more important.
Ahead of the call, actress/writer/producer Issa Rae expressed concerns about the platform offering her latest show, “Rap S—”, along with previous projects “Insecure” and “Sweet Life: Los Angeles.”
“I found out who I am seducing and plotting in Discovery,” she said chirp Wednesday along with a GIF of someone slipping through in a shiny, comfy dress and carrying a handbag. Robin Thede, the creator of “A Black Lady Sketch Show,” which also airs on HBO Max, quickly jumped in on replies to add “SAME.”
Some commentators put their weight on Thursday’s news, saying they did not believe the merger would materialize.
“if [Warner Bros. Discovery] Kill HBO Max to integrate it into Discovery Plus, it would be one of the dumbest decisions on the planet,” one user chirp. “That’s why I don’t think that’s going to happen. They can’t be that stupid.”
“I’m here stressing HBO Max like it’s a family member in need of prayer,” said Said Jones, author of How We Fight for Our Lives. chirp Thursday before earnings call.
Content creators have expressed skepticism about the planned merger as well.
“I’m not sure if the kindly done fixes by HBO Max Help team will carry over to Discovery+, so you’ll probably have about a year to lean on and schedule an OK show.” HBO Max!” chirp Ian James-Quartey, creator of the animated series “OK KO! Let’s Be Champions”.
Sources previously told The Times that canceling projects like “Batgirl” could allow for a tax write-off for Warner Bros. Discovery. However, a person close to the company said that canceling Batgirl was not a money-saving measure.
HBO and HBO Max reported 76.8 million subscribers at the end of the first quarter of 2022, making it one of Netflix and Disney+’s most powerful competitors. HBO Max is the streaming home of a wide range of DC content, including the “Dark Knight” trilogy, “Peacemaker” and the “Harley Quinn” animated series.
“HBO Max’s collapse before our eyes sparks outrage,” chirp Entertainment writer Eric Francisco before making the decision. “Not because we have to love HBO unconditionally but because the service easily has the best library of classic shows and movies and bold originals that never feel like they’re made by algorithms.”
Times staff writer Ryan Founder contributed to this report.