As the benefits of streaming over a traditional cable package continue to dry up and more and more cord-cutters get stuck paying for so many different streaming services that they’re not saving any money at all, it’s rare to see a company actually recognize that there are too many streaming services and that nobody is being properly served by the current system. (The only reason Disney+ and Hulu are different platforms, not counting the inaccurate “everything Disney does is family-friendly!” argument, is so Bob Chapek can afford solid gold window shades that block out current events.)
But leave it to WarnerMedia and Discovery, which are set to become one massive media company soon instead of two massive media companies, to realize that it’s silly for one massive media company to own multiple streaming services. Warner owns HBO Max and Discovery owns Discovery+, but once the ink dries on their merger—and they figure out how to actually do it—the two services are going to combine into one platform. Finally, My Neighbor Totoro and 90 Day Fiancé will be available in one place!
The catch is that it might take a while for this streaming-Voltron to activate interlock and connect dynatherms and all that, with current Discovery CFO (and future Warner Bros. Discovery CFO) Gunna Wiedenfels suggesting (via Variety) that it will probably take “several months” once the two companies are combined before they can create a single “product” for their streaming services.
Variety explains that HBO Max costs about double what Discovery+ costs, but it also has more than twice as many current subscribers, so the most sensible solution would probably be to fold Discovery+ into HBO Max and then… fingers-crossed… not raise the price or mess with the platform too much so current subscribers don’t get screwed.
Variety says that Wiedenfels claimed that this combined service would have “both ad-free and ad-lite products,” though, both of which seem to imply the existence of at least some ads, so hopefully the fully ad-free versions of HBO Max and Discovery+ aren’t being replaced by a worse product—we did just spend most of this news story talking about how this is a good thing for consumers, we’d hate to suddenly look like fools.