Warner Bros. Discovery has decided to keep Discovery+ as a standalone streaming offering and to proceed with launching the yet-to-be-named combined product of Discovery+ and HBO Max, Variety has confirmed.
According to a Wednesday report in the Wall Street Journal, “Instead of combining HBO Max and Discovery+ in their entirety, the new platform will feature HBO Max content and most Discovery+ content, with Discovery+ remaining available as a stand-alone option, some of the people said.”
An individual with knowledge of the situation tells Variety that WBD’s plan for the upcoming platform that will include both HBO Max and Discovery+ remains “unchanged,” and, additionally, the company has decided to keep the lower-priced offering of Discovery+ in the U.S.
Per the WSJ’s sources, “the decision to keep Discovery+ is part of an effort to avoid risking losing a significant chunk of the app’s 20 million subscribers who might not to want to pay the higher price to access that content.”
For reference, ad-free HBO Max costs $15.99 a month, while its ad-supported version runs at $9.99. Discovery+ without ads costs $6.99 a month, and the ad-supported version costs $4.99. Warner Bros. Discovery has indicated that the upcoming unified streamer will cost subscribers more than HBO Max currently does.
While no date has been officially set for the launch of the combined HBO Max and Discovery+ streaming service, Warner Bros. Discovery had moved up the timeline from a summer launch to a spring debut, all while holding back on what the offering would be called.
As Variety previously reported, Warner Bros. Discovery is also launching a FAST channel this year. WBD has already set deals with Tubi and Roku giving the third-party FAST partners access to content pulled from HBO Max — including “Westworld,” “The Nevers,” “Raised by Wolves,” “FBoy Island,” “Legendary,” “Finding Magic Mike,” “Head of the Class” and “The Time Traveler’s Wife.”
Warner Bros. Discovery is set to host its fourth-quarter earnings call on Feb. 23.
Representatives for Warner Bros. Discovery did not immediately respond to request for comment Wednesday.
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