In the second quarter, the media conglomerate said HBO Max, HBO and Discovery+ subscribers combined were 92.1 million, up 1.7 million from 90.4 million the prior quarter. That’s up 22% 75.8 million on a pro-forma basis versus a year earlier.
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However, WBD’s streaming businesses lost subscribers domestically in Q2, dropping 300,000 — falling from 53.3 million in the first quarter to 53.0 million as of June 30 in the U.S. and Canada.
For Q1, AT&T — the prior owner of WarnerMedia and HBO Max — had reported 76.8 million total HBO and HBO Max subscribers worldwide, including 48.6 million domestically. Meanwhile, Discovery reported 24 million direct-to-consumer subscribers in Q1. That adds up to 100.8 million — so what accounts for the discrepancy with the first-quarter pro-forma total WBD reported? The company restated HBO Max subscribers to count third-party distribution deals only if the individual user has activated their subscription; under AT&T’s ownership, it counted wireless customers on plans that bundled HBO Max as HBO Max subscribers even if those users didn’t use it. In addition, it excluded “legacy Discovery non-core subscribers” from its total count.
In announcing Q2 results, WBD said it re-extended its agreement with AT&T to continue to offer its internet and mobility customers access to HBO Max. It’s the first time Warner Bros. Discovery is reporting quarterly results that include the legacy WarnerMedia operations, after Discovery closed the acquisition of the media unit on April 8.
Meanwhile, in recent weeks, HBO Max quietly has been pruning content from the service in recent weeks, including removing six Warner Bros. movies that were streaming exclusively on the platform, in an apparent effort to reduce costs.
Previously, Warner Bros. Discovery has announced intentions to combine the two flagship streaming platforms — HBO Max from the legacy WarnerMedia (spun off from AT&T) and Discovery’s Discovery+. In March, Ahead of the close of the deal forming Warner Bros. Discovery, CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels in February broadly sketched out a strategy to combine the streamers, saying that initially it would sell the pair as a bundle before fully integrating them.
Currently, HBO Max is available for $14.99/month without ads and $9.99/month with ads in the U.S. Discovery+ is priced at $6.99/month without ads and $4.99/month with ads.
WBD took a step Thursday toward unifying HBO Max and Discovery+ on the content side, announcing that Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network programming will be coming to HBO Max this September (while remaining on Discovery+).
HBO Max includes HBO originals like “Euphoria” and “Succession,” library content including “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory,” kids shows including “Sesame Street,” movies, specials, and Max originals like “Hacks” and “The Peacemaker.”
Discovery+, meanwhile, is “the definitive non-fiction, real-life subscription streaming service,” according to WBD. It comprises shows from Discovery’s portfolio of networks, including HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, OWN, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet and Magnolia Network, as well as original titles and exclusive content. On Thursday, the company announced that shows from CNN will be added to Discovery+ on Aug. 19 in a new CNN originals hub, coming after Warner Bros. Discovery killed the standalone CNN+ service about one month after launch.
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