Are You Streaming Too Much? What the Discovery+/HBO Max Mashup Means

Fewer original scripted series? Maybe. And maybe it’s time to unsubscribe.

Man watching TV, remote control in hand. VOD service on TV
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If that ever-growing cable and streaming services bill has you thinking twice, the latest news out of media giant Warner Bros. Discovery may put you over the edge – and considering cutting back on your media consumption.

Right now, Warner Bros. Discovery has two streaming services as it competes against Netflix, Disney+ and others: Discovery + and HBO Max. By summer 2023, the two will be folded together. No name has been announced – and neither has a monthly subscription price for the combination.

As it stands now, HBO Max customers pay $9.99-$14.99 a month to get HBO products, including HBO Max, with or without commercials. To fans of newer and classic movies on demand, as well as original scripted continuing and limited series – including “Succession,” “The Flight Attendant,” “Euphoria,” “Station Eleven,” “Hacks” – HBO Max is a haven.

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Currently, Discovery+ subscribers pay $4.99 a month (with limited ads) to $6.99 a month (ad-free) for the app. Discovery+ is home to popular HGTV, Food Network, and Discovery channel reality series, as well as Magnolia Network with its shows from fixer-uppers Chip and Joanna Gaines. It is also home to a slew of nature shows as well as paranormal series. Combined, the services have 92 million subscribers.

The merger of the two streaming services HBO Max into Discovery+ was a bombshell announcement in a call about the parent company’s second-quarter earnings. Another announcement that rattled the entertainment world: Warner Bros. Discovery said it was removing “Batgirl” from its release schedule – after spending roughly $90 million in its production.

So how does this all play out for you? It will be a year of waiting and wondering if the combined offering will be worth it to you. Expect scattershot announcements about the new app coming from Warner Bros Discovery. But the announcement of the marriage and Warner Bros. Discovery’s willingness to axe product has series producers on edge, though David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, praised the high quality of HBO Max.

Bob Niedt
Online Editor, Kiplinger.com

Bob is a Senior Online Editor at Kiplinger.com. He has more than 40 years of experience in online, print and visual journalism. Bob has worked as an award-winning writer and editor in the Washington, D.C., market as well as at news organizations in New York, Michigan and California. Bob joined Kiplinger in 2016, bringing a wealth of expertise covering retail, entertainment, and money-saving trends and topics. He was one of the first journalists at a daily news organization to aggressively cover retail as a specialty, and has been lauded in the retail industry for his expertise. Bob has also been an adjunct and associate professor of print, online and visual journalism at Syracuse University and Ithaca College. He has a master’s degree from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and a bachelor’s degree in communications and theater from Hope College.