Depending where you are in the world, the soon-to-be-combined HBO Max and Discovery app will start rolling out from mid next year. Since the beginning of the Warner Bros Discovery merger, execs have repeatedly said that the plan was to combine the two services.

I'm still not entirely convinced that there's much sense in putting the sort of premium content that HBO and the broader Warner Bros brand is identified with alongside the very disposable and lightweight Discovery content. But it seems to be happening despite the ill-fit.

The rollout starts in the US mid next year ("US Summer") with Latin America following later in the year. European markets with HBO Max will follow in early 2024 along with additional launches. Key Asia Pacific territories (*cough* Australia?) and some new European markets will be coming in 2024.

This timeframe has some flexibility as Warner Bros Discovery head of streaming JB Perrette said that they will be looking for ways to accelerate the timeline the further they get into development and testing.

For my Australian Always Be Watching readers, I note that this timing syncs up reasonably well with the expiration of its existing deal with the Foxtel Group.

The new platform will be built on the Discovery+ tech stack and not the HBO Max existing platform.

After the combined app is rolled out and established, WBD plans to roll out a free advertising supported platform.

Here's my thinking on this... and I'm curious to see if it does marry up with where WBD execs are thinking about their content... If the plan is to have two platforms: An on-demand subscription service and a free advertising supported service which will look and feel distinct from their subscription service (so it is probably safe to think of it as emulating a Pluto TV-style platform with linear streamed channels as the primary focus and some on-demand & rewind/restart functionality to the grid of shows), it would make all the sense to me if the merging of the two services onto the subscription platform is actually pretty light on Discovery content and is mostly the sort of content we'd find today on HBO Max. And instead you hold over most of that Discovery content for the free linear channels. It is less-premium in style and largely constructed format-wise around supporting ads and to be watched on a linear platform. Every Discovery show can be picked up at any point in the episode without the feeling you've missed anything important.

Let's see how this plays out.

Warner Bros. Discovery Details New Streaming Plans: U.S. Launch of Combined Service in Summer 2023, Free AVOD Service to Follow
The company says the new service is targeting 130 million subs by 2025, and will “continue to have healthy content investment,” but at a “more measured pace” than previously indicated.

First-report financials

The first Warner Bros Discovery quarterly report wasn't warmly embraced by Wall Street with shares sliding 12%. I'm not sure anyone reads this newsletter for financial analysis (you'd be nutso if you did), but know that the overall message of slow subscriber growth, combined with significant losses, and ongoing high debt didn't impress.

Warner Bros. Discovery Shares Slide 12% After Earnings Debut
Shares of Warner Bros. Discovery fell sharply in late trading after the company reported its first combined financials featuring a big net loss, disappointing revenue, high debt and slower streamin…

Keanu Reeves is doing some serialised TV

Back in 2010, Leonardo Dicaprio optioned Erik Larson’s best-seller Devil in the White City. DiCaprio and Appian Way partner, Jennifer Davisson, will exec produce alongside Martin Scorsese. How is Marty now involved? Well, he was set to direct a feature film version of it in 2015, but that didn't happen. DiCaprio was going to star in it.

But now it is being set up as a TV show. And because Leo thinks he is too good for TV, the best of us all is now set to star. Keanu Reeves.

Sam Shaw (Castle Rock) will write and showrun the series, which I think sounds pretty cool:

Devil revolves around Daniel H. Burnham (Reeves), a demanding but visionary architect who races to make his mark on history with the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and Dr. H. H. Holmes, America’s first modern serial killer and the man behind the notorious “Murder Castle” built in the fair’s shadow.
Keanu Reeves to Lead ‘Devil in the White City’ Hulu Series From Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio
The series had been in various stages of development for more than a decade.

Check the tweets (and email)

  • Season 11 of Curb Your Enthusiasm was all about death. It was supposed to end with Larry David dying. But Larry decided he wasn't ready. Read: THR
  • Baby Shark's Big Movie debuts in 2023 on Paramount+. I know - I'm excited too. Read: thefutoncritic
  • CNN original series will start to be published on Discovery+ from August 19. Read: Primetimer
  • When Big Sky returns for season 3 it will be re-titled Big Sky: Deadly Trails. Read: NextTV
  • The Great Australian Bake Off will return for a sixth season - with new hosts and judges. Read: C21
  • Sky has ordered a second season of the rather good sci-fi drama The lazarus Project. Read: THR
  • The new Predator film Prey, which debuts on Hulu today in the US and on Disney+ internationally, has a very specific link to the best film in the franchise: Predator 2. Read: Radio Times
  • Lost star Dominic Monaghan says he has never seen an episode of Lost. Now you know what to answer with if he ever asks for a TV recommendation. Read: People
  • THR could have wowed us today with an in-depth feature on the failed 1979 series Supertrain, one of TV's greatest, most ambitious failures. Instead it is just a trifle of an article. What a wasted opportunity. Read: THR

Tell Me Lies debuts Sept 7 on Hulu.

Do Revenge debuts on Netflix 16 September. It is a film.

A dethroned queen bee at a posh private high school strikes a secret deal with an unassuming new student to exact revenge on each other's enemies.

That's it for today. And this week. Always Be Streaming will be in your inbox a number of hours from now. Have a good weekend and stay safe.