The HBO Max and Discovery+ brands will merge into a single streaming platform that will begin operating in the summer of 2023, David Zaslav, CEO of the new Warner Bros. Discovery company, announced Thursday.

The name under which this new platform will be marketed is unknown. Initially, it will be born with a user base of more than 90 million worldwide by combining the two existing services.

HBO Max, launched two years ago with the aim of becoming the main competition for Netflix and Disney+, currently has 76.8 million users in the US, Europe and Latin America.

For its part, Discovery+ has about 24 million subscribers, mainly in the United States.

The new service will unite the catalogs of WarnerMedia and Discovery, which began a merger process this spring to become the second largest media group in North America, behind only The Walt Disney Company.

Thus, the new conglomerate owns brands as popular as HBO, CNN, Warner Bros., Eurosport and DC Comics, which will integrate the programming of the new platform.

“At the end of the day, putting all the content together was the only way to make that business viable,” said streaming strategist JB Perrete during a call with investors.

First signs of saturation

The union of both services comes at a time when the streaming market is beginning to show its first signs of saturation.

Netflix accumulates two quarters in a row with customer losses; the CNN + platform closed its service a month after its debut and other bets such as Apple TV + do not finish taking off despite having millionaire investments.

In this regard, Zaslav has advanced that his group is already working on the idea of ​​offering a cheaper subscription, even free, in exchange for ads, the same thing that Netflix is ​​going to implement next year.

The setbacks that the platforms are encountering have led Hollywood studios to change the strategy they began during the pandemic and go back to betting on exclusive theatrical releases so that the films are profitable.

This same week, the factory decided to cancel the premiere of Batgirl, a film designed to be released by HBO Max, after investing 90 million dollars in its filming.

“Our strategy has changed in the last year and reflects the importance, but not the dependency, on streaming,” Zaslav said.

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