This is (gonna be) big. HBO Max and Discovery Plus won't be sold in a bundle. Instead, the newly formed (once the merger is approved) Warner Bros. Discovery will be selling them in one mega-streaming service.
Yes, HBO Max and Discovery Plus won't be going the way of the Disney Plus bundle, where you can tack on Hulu and ESPN Plus for additional savings. Instead, they're going to be merged into one service — although you'll also be able to get ad-free and ad-lite versions of this new to-be-named service. Hopefully, the price won't be too high. We're guessing a much higher price would lower its spot on our best streaming service rankings.
This news comes to us via Variety (opens in new tab), which reports that Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels made the announcement of sorts today (March 14) at the Deutsche Bank 30th Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference. The change won't happen until after the Warner Bros. Discovery deal closes, which is expected to be mid-to-late April.
HBO Max and Discovery Plus pricing
At this moment, both services offer an ad-free and ad-supported tier, and it's something to take a look at to try and figure out potential new pricing. As you can see below, the ad-free versions of the two total to $21.98 per month when purchased separately, and the ad-supported versions total $14.98 per month.
|HBO Max||Discovery Plus|
|Monthly ad-free price||$14.99||$6.99|
|Monthly ad-supported price||$9.99||$4.99|
Analysis: What should this new service cost?
If there's a price hike for the combined service (and we expect there would be one) it will likely risk alienating and pushing away HBO Max and Discovery Plus subscribers. This is the reason why bundles are a popular way to sell multiple services at once. Not everyone who pays for Hulu wants Disney Plus, and not everyone who pays for Disney Plus wants ESPN Plus.
So, we're thinking the price for the new service should probably not be too high. Since I personally don't see myself ever using Discovery Plus, I'm trying to figure out how much of a price bump I'd stomach and still keep the new service. The new ad-free tier, I'd say should be under $20, while the ad-supported version should be less than $13.
Either way, this kind of price hike will only push users to churn (un-subscribing and re-subscribing, as explained in my colleague Kelly Woo's story about how she cut the cable cord, but is still paying too much for streaming and my own series of articles about canceling Netflix and coming back.
Will there be a way to avoid this price hike?
HBO Max currently offers $149.99 and $99.99 per year annal plans (ad-free and ad-supported, respectively), which offer savings of 16%. These plans are likely your best bet to locking in HBO Max at the current rate, but that's not confirmed.
Speaking of streaming at home, it's almost time to watch Spider-Man: No Way Home online, as we've got good news about its digital release. Also we've got the one Apple TV trick everyone needs to know — and our streaming editor just learned about.