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HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+ report a combined total of 92.1M subscribers, plans for major restructuring – TechCrunch

Warner Bros. Discovery announced its second-quarter results — its first quarterly earnings since the $43 billion merger.

The total number of direct-to-consumer subscribers across HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+ was 92.1 million in Q2 2022, an increase of 1.7 million from the end of Q1 of 90.4 million subscribers . The company hasn’t broken out numbers for over-the-top streaming services individually, so it’s unclear what the exact number is in terms of HBO Max and Discovery+ subscriptions.

The company also reported a loss of 300,000 domestic subscribers, down from 53.3 million to 53 million.

In the prior quarter, WarnerMedia reported a total of 76.8 million HBO and HBO Max subscribers and Discovery+ had 24 million. The total number exceeded 100 million subscribers. The discrepancy from today’s numbers is because the previous owner counted AT&T cellular subscribers in plans that bundled HBO Max.

In announcing Q2 results, Warner Bros. Discovery wrote in its letter, “The new definition resulted in the exclusion of 10 million legacy Discovery non-core subscribers and non-activated AT&T mobility subscribers from the Q1 subscriber count.”

During its conference call, the company announced that the upcoming combined streaming service will launch in the US in summer 2023, with Latin America to follow later that year. It will be launched in the European markets and in the Asia-Pacific regions in 2024. Warner Bros. Discovery also said it is considering a free ad-supported tier.

“Once our SVOD service is firmly established in the market, we see real potential and are exploring the possibility of a fast or free ad-supported streaming offering that will give consumers who don’t want to pay a subscription fee, while also providing access to great library content, while at the same time serving as a Entry point for our premium service,” the company explained.

In June, AT&T also dropped its new subscriber plan, which gave users HBO Max as a bundled benefit. However, as reported in the Q2 results, Warner Bros. Discovery said it had renewed its agreement with AT&T again.

“AT&T continues to be a key partner, and we’re excited that HBO Max will continue to be a part of AT&T’s internet and mobility plans,” said Scott Miller, executive vice president, distribution, Warner Bros. Discovery, in a statement.

Despite Wall Street expecting revenue of $11.91 billion, the company fell short of the mark this quarter with reported revenue of $9.8 million. According to the report, Warner Bros. Discovery suffered a net loss of $3.4 million, which includes $1 million for restructuring and other costs.

Discovery and WarnerMedia reported separate and very different results last quarter. While WarnerMedia’s operating income declined 32.7% year over year, Discovery’s total revenue of $3.16 million was up 13%.

The company has about $53 billion in debt and is cutting costs to meet a $3 billion savings goal. This could explain the changes to the table of contents as well as rumors of personnel changes.

For example, The Wrap heard from sources that layoffs could be expected in the coming months due to the restructuring of streaming platforms HBO Max and Discovery+. A source reported that 70% of the development staff could be laid off. While layoffs are standard with corporate mergers, some sources are speculating that the move will result in HBO Max losing executives, and a line will be drawn to separate scripted and unscripted content.

TechCrunch has reached out to the company for comment and is awaiting a response.

During his earnings call, Andrew Slaven, Executive Vice President, Global Investor Strategy, said, “We were able to drill deeper into the financials and have a much better and more complete picture of where we are and how we’re going, including identifying some additional ones and unexpected challenges that capture and will continue to capture our focus and attention. The benefit is that there is still more room for improvement and cost savings.”

Warner Bros. Discovery’s new CEO, David Zaslav, has been on a cancellation spree as subscribers yesterday met with disappointment and outrage at the news that “Batgirl” was shelved due to poor reception from test audiences. It’s going down the drain for an estimated $70 million to $90 million — which we might add is still less than the short-lived $300 million streaming service CNN+, which Zaslav axed in April.

Scoob!: Holiday Haunt was also withdrawn on Wednesday.

Zaslav removed six original films from the service, including the reboot The Witches, as well as Moonshot, An American Pickle, Superintelligence, Charm City Kings, and Locked Down. While content is constantly being removed from streaming services — take Netflix, for example — what was unusual about the move was that Warner Bros. Discovery did it quietly.

Redditors have previously noted that a handful of other shows like Amsterdam, Final Space, Czech It Out, and more are missing. Lance St. Laurent pointed this out Twitter that “Vinyl” was also taken off the net without warning. Laurent said it was “disturbing” as Max originals aren’t the only ones being axed. “Vinyl” was an HBO show that was long since canceled.

When a subscriber wondered why “Full Bloom” was missing from HBO Max’s lineup, the company tweeted in response:

As Variety reported, the company made the decision last month to end new original programming in parts of Europe. Also, Cinemax Go, its free streaming service, was shut down on July 31.

However, on September 30, HBO Max is getting content from Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network. Last year, the Gaines partnered with Discovery and launched linear and streaming channel Magnolia. Discovery+ will continue to have programming from the Magnolia Network on its platform. HBO Max gets titles like Fixer Upper: Welcome Home, The Lost Kitchen, Restoration Road with Clint Harp, and many others. Discovery+ has a drastically different target audience than HBO Max, so it’s unclear if that was the right move or not.

Also, CNN Originals is getting its own hub on Discovery+, with original series like “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” and “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” moving to the service. Shortly after CNN+ shut down, HBO Max got CNN titles like “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace.”

Zaslav has insisted the company will focus on smart spending. However, it is worrying that Zaslav may be making content decisions based on making the books of the book look better instead of focusing on reassuring viewers with the content they enjoy.

In today’s letter to shareholders, Zaslav wrote, “We are confident that we are on track to achieve our strategic goals and truly excel both creatively and financially and couldn’t be more excited about the future of our company.”

It’s likely that the company will hold the biggest shows on HBO Max. Especially since HBO received 140 Emmy nominations that year and “Succession” was the most nominated series with 25 nominations.

https://techcrunch.com/2022/08/04/hbo-hbo-max-and-discovery-report-a-combined-total-of-92-1m-subscribers-plans-for-major-restructuring/ HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+ report a combined total of 92.1M subscribers, plans for major restructuring – TechCrunch

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