Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) has announced when it will unveil its new so-called super streamer, which is expected to replace HBO Max and Discovery Plus later this year.
In a press release, WBD confirmed that it will hold an online event on Wednesday April 12 to reveal its brand new streaming platform, which is likely to be called Max. The online video stream, which is open to the press and the general public, will begin at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm BST (Australian viewers will be able to watch at 3am AEST on Thursday, April 13).
When asked by TechRadar if this event would introduce WBD’s new streaming product to a global audience, a WBD spokesperson simply replied, “Yes.” Expect an official name, potential release date, pricing plans, the impact this will have on HBO/HBO Max deals with UK and other streamers around the world (more on that later), and more to be discussed during the webcast.
We knew super streamer WBD had been on the cards since the WarnerMedia and Discovery merger ended in April 2022. Four months after the entertainment companies joined forces, we announced that HBO Max and Discovery Plus would create a new super streamer sometime in 2022. 2023. Since then time the days of both streaming platforms seem to be numbered.
However, it was revealed in February that HBO Max and Discovery Plus would not be fully merged. Instead, Discovery Plus will continue to be offered as a single streaming service to US users who do not wish to subscribe to WBD’s new super streamer. Behind Wall Street Journal (opens in a new tab)WBD fears it will lose a large chunk of its Discovery Plus user base if it forces consumers to sign up for the connected platform, hence the small change of heart.
It’s unclear if HBO Max’s extensive library of movies and TV shows will be transferred to WBD’s new streaming service once it launches. We’ll likely find out more on April 12, but for now, the best HBO Max shows and the best HBO Max movies are still available to watch on the service, provided you have an HBO Max account.
Hopefully during the event, we’ll find out when the super streamer will be released in the US – and potentially other territories like Latin America and parts of Europe. While WBD call for the second quarter of 2022 (opens in a new tab)executive JB Perrette hinted that it could launch in the US in summer 2023. The service will then roll out to other regions of the world – where HBO Max is available, remember – in 2024.
Analysis: A big question has been answered, but many more remain
After months of speculation, we’ve finally found out when WBD will officially unveil its new streaming service. While these big questions have been answered, there are many more that still need to be answered.
In addition to the aforementioned concerns about HBO Max content, when and where the service will roll out and how much it will cost, there are doubts about how this super streamer will affect the deals WBD has with other streaming services around the world.
First, there is the question of how this might affect the HBO originals that are shown on Sky Atlantic in the UK. Popular TV shows incl The last of us, Dragon HouseAND Euphoria are broadcast exclusively on Sky Atlantic on British shores, thanks to a four-year licensing deal between HBO and Sky that allows the latter to show these series (and many more) in the UK.
That deal expires this year, but Sky and HBO are expected to renew the deal. The new super streamer WBD could theoretically affect the renewal of the contract – the mentioned programs are available on HBO AND HBO Max in the US – though, especially if its new streaming platform is airing The last of us and companies to American households. Will Sky, for example, have to pay more for the privilege of showing these shows on Sky Atlantic?
There’s also an HBO Max add-on feature that Hulu users can screw onto their subscription plan. Currently, Hulu subscribers can add HBO Max as an additional channel (for an additional monthly fee) to their plan, which means they get access to the streamer’s content package as well as Hulu’s best shows and Hulu’s best movies. Will this offer be extended to WBD’s new super streamer? Or will WBD amid escalating streaming wars prevent Hulu – one of Disney’s streaming platforms, with Disney Plus being the other – from offering the WBD super streamer as an extra option for Hulu customers?
Last but perhaps most important, we’re not sure if WBD’s new streaming plan will help it bridge the gap with Netflix, the world’s best streaming service. At the moment, Netflix is the most popular streamer, with around 231 million subscribers. By contrast, the combined user base of HBO Max and Discovery Plus is a less impressive 96.1 million. In comparison, Disney Plus is the second most popular service, with 161.8 million users – and that’s despite Disney Plus’ first loss of subscribers in Q1 2023.
WBD is therefore hoping its mega-streaming service, with its massive back catalog and potentially competitive pricing, will give it a boost against rivals. However, until April 12, we’re all in the dark about super streamer WBD – and how much the entertainment giant really wants to win the streaming wars.
For more HBO Max-powered coverage, read about all the new HBO Max movies that have debuted on the service since December 2022. You can also check if there’s a free trial of HBO Max in your global region before WBD unveils its new platform for streaming.