The HBO Max-Discovery+ merger is getting a rethink

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It looks like stand-alone Discovery+ will get a new lease on life, with the streaming service’s parent company rethinking its plans to combine Discovery+ with HBO Max.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Warner Bros. Discovery still wants to create a “supersize” streaming service that includes HBO Max and “most” Discovery content. 

However, the new plan is for Discovery+ to stick around as a separate–and presumably cheaper–service.

The idea of combining HBO Max and Discovery+ first emerged last March amid the merger of Discovery and WarnerMedia, which eventually became Warner Bros. Discovery.

Back then, the goal was to create “one, very, very strong combined direct-to-consumer product and platform,” according to an exec for the former Discovery.

But that was then. Now, with the streaming gold rush officially over, Warner Bros. Discovery is said to be less concerned with streamlining its offerings and more worried about turning away a “significant chunk” of Discovery+’s 20-million subscribers, who might balk at a pricier HBO Max-Discovery+ combo, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Currently, Discovery+ costs $6.99 a month, or $4.99 with ads. HBO Max now goes for $15.99 a month following a recent price hike, while the ad-supported version costs $9.99 a month.

Warner Bros. Discovery hasn’t announced a name or pricing for its upcoming “supersize” streaming service, but it will likely be pricier than the existing HBO Max subscription cost, according to the Wall Street Journal report.

Word of Warner Bros. Discovery’s decision to keep Discovery+ as a stand-alone service comes during a period of heavy turbulence in the streaming world.

With the streaming industry’s land-grab era coming to an abrupt halt, the big streamers are in hunker-down mode, with Netflix moving ahead with its password-sharing crackdown, Peacock shuttering its free ad-supported tier for new users, and pretty much all the major players rolling out price hikes.

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