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Discovery Plus to continue as standalone app, report says

(Logo courtesy Discovery, Inc./Graphic by The Desk)

Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) has modified its plans to marry the content libraries of HBO Max and Discovery Plus later this year, which originally called for both apps to be shut down in favor of a single streaming service.

According to a report published by the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, executives at WBD are now leaning toward offering a significant amount of Discovery Plus shows, documentaries and other programming in an ultra-premium streaming service — which is tentatively called “Max” — while keeping Discovery Plus as a lower-priced option.

The move is intended to placate some of Discovery Plus’ 20 million subscribers who may not want to pay more for a unified streaming experience, the Journal said, citing unnamed sources who were purportedly familiar with the company’s plans.

Currently, Discovery Plus costs around $5 a month for content that is subsidized by commercials, though streamers can pay just a few dollars more to remove ad interruptions in most shows. HBO Max costs $10 a month for an ad-supported tier and $16 a month for a commercial-free option. Max, which could debut as early as this summer, is likely to cost the same as a current HBO Max subscription.

WBD is still planning to include some top-tier Discovery Plus content in the Max library, including programming from the flagship Discovery Channel’s annual franchise “Shark Week,” reality shows from the brand’s Magnolia Network.

In addition to the forthcoming Max service, WBD is exploring the possibility of developing its own free, ad-supported streaming service, the Wall Street Journal said. Last month, WBD began licensing some of its HBO Max content to the Roku Channel and Fox Corporation’s Tubi TV for their own free streaming TV services.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is an award-winning journalist with more than 10 years of experience covering the business of television and radio broadcasting, streaming services and the overall media industry. In addition to his work as publisher of The Desk, Matthew contributes regularly to StreamTV Insider and KnowTechie, and has worked for several well-known news organizations, including Thomson Reuters, McNaughton Newspapers, Grasswire, Comstock's magazine, KTXL-TV and KGO-TV. Matthew is a member of IRE, a trade organization for investigative reporters and editors, and is based in Northern California.

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