HBO Max and Discovery Plus are merging into one streaming service

HBO Max Review 2020
HBO Max Review 2020 (Image credit: Bryan M. Wolfe/iMore)

What you need to know

  • HBO Max and Discovery Plus will one day be one and the same.
  • While plans are in place to bring Discovery Plus and HBO Max under one roof, bundles will be offered until that happens.

HBO Max and Discovery+ will one day be the same thing, according to a new report. But until then we should expect the pair to be offered together as a single bundle once the merger between Warner Bros. Discover and AT&T's WarnerMedia closes.

That's the news coming via Variety after Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels told the Deutsche Bank 30th Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference that preparations are underway to make HBO Max and Discovery Plus one and the same.

While the move to bring both pools of content under a single umbrella is the ultimate plan, it won't happen immediately. Instead, the two streamers will be offered as a bundle while things are ironed out.

"One of the most important items here is that we believe in a combined product as opposed to a bundle… We believe that the breadth and depth of this content offering is going to be a phenomenal consumer value proposition," Wiedenfels said. "The question is, in order to get to that point and do it in a way that's actually a great user experience for our subscribers, that's going to take some time. Again, that's nothing that's going to happen in weeks — hopefully not in years, but in several months — and we will start working on an interim solution in the meantime. So right out of the gate, we're working on getting the bundling approach ready, maybe a single sign-on, maybe ingesting content into the other product, etc., so that we can start to get some benefits early on. But the main thrust is going to be harmonizing the technology platform. Building one very, very strong combined direct-to-consumer product and platform, that's going to take a while."

Discovery Plus currently costs $4.99 power per month with ads and $6.99 without them and the report notes that it accounts for "the bulk of Discovery's streaming sub total." HBO Max is currently priced at $9.99 per month with ads and $14.99 a month as an ad-free service for those who prefer that route.

With so many streamers now available it's always going to be difficult to sell another one, especially with Apple TV+ continuing to add value for its monthly $4.99 per month fee. Netflix is also the big player in town, while Amazon Prime Video has a place on many Home screens, too. It'll be fascinating to see what happens in the long run once Discovery Plus and HBO Max find a home under the same roof.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.