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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Warner Bros. Discovery Revolutionizes TV Bundling for the Streaming Age

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) unveiled its new streaming platform, Max, to the public. The company’s Chief Executive, David Zaslav, described the service as a platform that “every household member” can use for all their television needs. The forum brings together some of the most well-known brands in the industry, offering consumers access to a vast library of programming across WBD’s extensive portfolio. This includes films by Warner Bros., children’s content from Cartoon Network, premium shows from HBO, and unscripted programming from HGTV, TLC, Food Network, and many others.

Zaslav hinted that Max would also eventually include news and sports content, given that WBD owns properties such as Turner Sports. WBD is recreating the traditional TV bundle, offering consumers a one-stop shop for scripted and unscripted television, movies, news, and sports at a flat monthly rate. The significant difference is that instead of being distributed through the cable by a third party, the service will be transmitted directly to consumers over the Internet.

Zaslav promoted Max as the “one to watch” due to the platform’s vast collection of iconic and globally recognized franchises. He referred to the service as a “superpower” and described it as “streaming’s version of must-see TV.” This approach is notably different from Disney’s strategy in the streaming space. According to Insider Intelligence analyst Paul Verna, Disney has “resisted the temptation” to combine Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ and instead “leans into each brand’s core strength.” However, Disney does offer the ability to purchase individual services in a bundle.

WBD has chosen a different approach, with Zaslav stating that Max positions the company for the “next century.” It remains to be seen which company’s strategy will be more effective. Max’s pricing will be divided into three tiers: The least expensive is the $9.99 ad-supported model, while the ad-free version will cost $15.99, matching the price of the existing HBO Max service. Users who want 4K will have to buy the Max “ultimate plan” for $19.99. The Max service is set to launch on May 23.

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