Discovery is set to become Warner Bros. Discovery within a month’s time after a $43 billion deal closes. Originally it was thought that Discovery’s relatively young streaming platform, Discovery+, was to be offered as a standalone service bundled with HBO Max, just like Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+. Now, plans have changed.
Instead, Discovery+ will be merged with HBO Max… eventually. Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels has confirmed in an investor meeting that they will be offered first as a bundle while the company figures out a strategy for merging the two platforms, according to Variety.
Wiedenfels expanded on this, giving a rough time frame as to when we can expect to see HBO Max and Discovery+ join forces: “in order to…do it in a way that’s actually a great user experience for our subscribers, that’s going to take some time. Again, that’s nothing that’s going to happen in weeks — hopefully not in years, but in several months — and we will start working on an interim solution in the meantime.”
Therefore, we can hopefully expect to see Discovery+ and HBO Max merge sometime in 2022.
Of course, the big question is how this will this affect prices for subscribers. Discovery+ costs $4.99 per month for the ad-supported tier and $6.99 per month for the ad-free version. Meanwhile, HBO Max costs $9.99 per month for the ad-supported tier, and $14.99 per month for the ad-free. That $9.99 package was added in last summer, and the platform hasn’t increased its prices since it launched back in May 2020.
With both Netflix and Amazon Prime getting more expensive, this merger with Discovery+ would be an excuse for HBO Max to raise prices in line with competitors. In fact, Netflix’s most expensive account is now $19.99 per month, so it would come as no surprise if HBO Max charged the same amount for its new ad-free tier.
We’ve asked Discovery if a similar deal is being hashed out in the UK because, at the time of writing, no merger announcement has been made about Discovery+ in the UK. However, Sky Q and Sky Glass owners can get up to a year’s subscription to the service for free.
Now is Sky’s streaming service which syndicates content from HBO, so if Discovery+ also folds in here, it would be natural for it to become part of the Now Entertainment Membership. This streaming platform already includes content from US service Peacock and will also include originals from Paramount+ later this year.
Discovery+ includes shows such as Gold Rush, The Dead Files and 90 Day Fiancé. UK viewers can also tune into sports programming via Eurosport. You can sign up for these services on the HBO Max and Discovery+ websites.
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