Discovery seeks to bundle, then merge, apps down the road

(Graphic by The Desk)

A Discovery, Inc. executive said the company has plans to bundle, then eventually merge, its Discovery Plus streaming service with that of WarnerMedia’s HBO Max soon after the two companies combine.

The revelation was made Monday morning by Gunnar Wiedenfels, Discovery’s chief financial officer, at a media industry conference.

After WarnerMedia combines with Discovery — the fused company will be called Warner Bros. Discovery — the new media entity will first offer a bundle to streaming customers, with eyes toward an eventual merger of Discovery Plus and HBO Max. WarnerMedia is currently owned by telecom giant AT&T; the merger is still subject to regulatory approval.

“One of the most important items here is that we believe in a combined product as opposed to a bundle,” Wiedenfels said at the Deutsche Bank 30th Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference. “We believe that the breadth and depth of this content offering is going to be a phenomenal consumer value proposition.”

Wiedenfeld offered no hard timeline for either the bundle or the merged service, saying both will “take some time.”

“Hopefully not in years, but in several months,” Wiedenfels said. “Right out of the gate, we’re working on getting the bundling approach ready…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.”

As standalone services, Discovery Plus starts at $5 a month while HBO Max costs $10 a month. Each offers a commercial-free tier of service at a higher price point.

HBO Max launched in 2020, while Discovery Plus debuted early last year.