The rumors were true, seismic changes are coming to the HBO Max streaming platform as CEO David Zaslav announced in the Warner Bros. Discovery second-quarter earnings call in Thursday. Shelvings of several films that were completely finished such as ‘Batgirl‘ or ‘Scoob!: Holiday Haunt‘ were received with bewilderment across the industry of both movies and series. Zaslav was expected to announce something big was about to happen, and so he did.
From now on, HBO Max will merge with Discovery+ and combine their 90+ million subscribers in the streaming wars. But the most important aspect of this announcement is the overall plan that Zaslav has for movie production. During the time of the pandemic, former WB executives made some questionable decisions to send some of their greatest films of the era directly to streaming. Zaslav expressed he is totally against this, he will embrace theatrical releases to their full extent.
Warner Bros. Discovery’s new landscape with streaming and movies.
This is what David Zaslav announced: “We have a different view on the wisdom of releasing direct to streaming films. And we have taken some aggressive steps to course correct the previous strategy. For example, we will fully embrace the attributes as we believe it creates interest and demand provides a great marketing tailwind, and generates word of mouth buzz as films transition to streaming and beyond. When you’re in theaters, the value of the content and the overall viewing experience is elevated. Then when the same content moves to PVOD, and then streaming it is elevated again.
“As films moved from one window to the next, their overall value is elevated, elevated, elevated. We saw this clearly demonstrated with the Batman and Elvis. With respect to streaming, our main priority right now is launching an integrated SVOD service. There’s been a lot of experimentation in our industry and we are all smarter for it. At Warner Brothers Discovery we believe strongly in the importance of preserving optionality and driving returns to a strategic mix of distribution and windowing options.”
This announcement also explains how HBO Max suddenly erased at least six films that were sent directly to video on demand during the pandemic. Reporters from various media were puzzled by this decision and that’s what prompted the rumors that eventually became a reality. HBO Max will join forces in order to compete with other streaming giants such as Netflix or Disney Plus. What worries everybody the most about this decision is that such a change will also bring many layoffs in the coming months at HBO Max.