Warner Bros. Discovery will merge HBO Max and Discovery+ into a single streaming platform, the company announced late Thursday.
Chief Executive David Zaslav made the announcement in the company's quarterly earning call, saying it was a part of Warner Bros' Discovery's plan to hit 130 million paying subscribers by 2025. The merged streaming service is set to launch in the United States next summer, in Latin America later in 2023, and in Europe and the Asia Pacific in 2024.
A free streaming service supported by advertising could follow.
On the earnings call, Zaslav also said that Warner Bros. Discovery would make "a strategic shift" away from releasing films directly to streaming, as it makes less long-term financial sense than releasing films to theaters.
"This idea of expensive films going direct to streaming, we cannot find an economic case for it," said Zaslav.
Zaslav's comments came after an investor asked why the company canceled the release of Batgirl, as well as Wonder Twins and Scoob!: Holiday Haunt. As previously reported, six HBO Max original films were also quietly removed from the streaming service.
"Our focus will be on theatrical," Zaslav said. "And when we bring the theatrical films to HBO Max, we find they have substantially more value."
Deena ElGenaidi's writing has been featured in Nylon, MTV News, Insider, The AV Club, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @deenaelg.
TOPICS: Warner Bros. Discovery, Discovery+, HBO Max