Discovery+ brings the offline download feature to the US

The Discovery+ app is getting one of the most anticipated feature — and frankly, a must-have feature for today’s streaming apps — offline viewing. The company announced Monday that users of the ad-free plan in the U.S. will be able to download content for offline viewing on the service’s iOS and Android apps.

This move comes after the company tested this feature with users in Brazil. Discovery+ mentioned that the service has more than 58,000 episodes — including popular shows “House of Hammer,” “Fixer Upper,” and “90 Day Fiancé” — that are eligible for downloads.

Users with the ad-free plan will see a “Download” button next to the content title. They can also choose the quality of the download and whether to download it over Wi-FI or cellular data.

Discovery+ noted that the downloaded title will live on the device for 30 days in the unplayed state or 48 hours after you hit the play button. Plus, you can renew the title download once you’re online after it expires.

The company is not putting any geo-restriction on the downloaded content. So if you are visiting another country, you can watch it if you are offline. The app will default to the downloads section when a user is offline.

Warner Bros. Discovery is set to merge HBO Max and Discovery+ services into one app next year. But until then, Discovery+ users will get to enjoy this feature that was missing for the longest time. Competitors like YouTube and Netflix have had an offline viewing option for years. While Discovery+ launched just last year, it’s a feature that streaming service users have come to expect.

Discovery+ brings the offline download feature to the US by Ivan Mehta originally published on TechCrunch

Combined HBO Max/Discovery+ service gets an earlier launch date, price hike is to be expected

After Warner Bros. Discovery reported its third-quarter earnings results yesterday, the company told investors and analysts in a call that the forthcoming combined HBO Max/Discovery+ streaming service will now launch in the U.S. earlier than previously announced. CEO David Zaslav said the yet-to-be-named service is now getting a spring 2023 launch instead of in the summer.

Following its debut in the United States, the service will roll out in Latin America and then in Europe in 2024. While the company has yet to announce how much the service will cost or what it’ll be called, it will get an ad-free and ad-lite plan.

Also, HBO Max’s ad-free plan might get a price hike next year, the company noted during yesterday’s call.

“By 2023, HBO Max will not have raised prices since its launch. So, it will have been three years since pricing has moved. Which we think is an opportunity, particularly in this environment,” JB Perrette, president and CEO of Global Streaming and Games, said.

The $14.99/month price of HBO Max’s ad-free plan has not budged since its launch in 2020. As more streaming services increase its prices for subscribers, HBO Max will likely join in on the trend. And while many subscribers won’t be happy with a price hike, it also makes sense for the streamer. Once HBO Max merges with Discovery+, the higher cost seems justifiable because subscribers will get double the amount of content.

Another reason for the potential price hike is that not enough subscribers are choosing HBO Max’s $9.99/month ad-supported tier, which launched last year.

“We were frankly a little surprised in the HBO Max ad-lite offering that more people have not moved to that offering… We believe there’s actually some pricing advantage for us on the ad-free service, and we can probably move north of where the prices are today,” Perrette added.

Separately, Zaslav mentioned that the company is still “aggressively attacking the AVOD market with our own FAST offering in 2023.” WBD stated last quarter that it was exploring a free ad-supported streaming TV service (FAST). “As a company with the largest film and TV library in the industry, we have a unique opportunity to increase our addressable market and drive real value, and we plan to move quickly,” he said yesterday.

WBD’s future FAST offering will join other media company-owned FAST services like NBCUniversal’s Peacock, Paramount’s Pluto TV, Fox’s Tubi and Comcast’s Xumo.

The company reported a net add of 2.8 million global subscribers across HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+ in the third quarter, bringing the total to 94.9 million. Only 500,000 domestic subs were added.

Combined HBO Max/Discovery+ service gets an earlier launch date, price hike is to be expected by Lauren Forristal originally published on TechCrunch

Warner Bros. Discovery falls short of expectations in Q3 despite success of “Game of Thrones” spinoff

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) reported its fiscal quarterly earnings this afternoon– its last one before the company is set to launch a new streaming service next year that combines HBO Max and Discovery+ content.

Since Netflix reported decent Q3 results, the market likely anticipated an okay turnout for WBD. However, it’s clear the company fell short. HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+ ended the third quarter with a combined net add of 2.8 million global subscribers, bringing the total to 94.9 million, up from 92.1 million in Q2. However, Wall Street anticipated a net add of 3.27 million subscribers.

Last quarter, the company reported a loss of 300,000 domestic subscribers, bringing the total to 53 million. The new total is 53.5 million domestic subs.

WBD stock has dropped 49% year-to-date.

Analysts were bullish on revenue and expected $10.51 billion, which would have been a 233.6% jump year over year. WBD sorely missed expectations and reported a total of $9.82 billion.

After reporting a net loss of $3.4 million in Q2, WBD’s net loss of $2.4 million this quarter isn’t as bad—we guess.

Overall, WBD has a gross debt load of around $50.4 billion, the company noted. This is a promising improvement from the previous $53 debt load. The company has said it wanted to slash $3 billion worth of costs over the next two years.

WBD has ramped up its restructuring efforts, including canceling HBO Max titles and cutting down its workforce. Most recently, 14% of staff working under HBO and HBO Max chief content officer Casey Bloys were laid off.

“While we have lots more work to do, and there are some difficult decisions still to be made, we have total conviction in the opportunity ahead,” CEO David Zaslav said in today’s letter.

On the bright side, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” spinoff series, “House of the Dragon,” garnered record-breaking viewership numbers. The series premiere had 10 million viewers, and the finale had 9.3 million. The entire series overall had an average of around 29 million viewers in the U.S., the company wrote in its letter to shareholders. This is likely why “House of the Dragon” will get a second season, with rumors that six more spin-offs are on the way.

The company also announced yesterday that it is collaborating with NFT platform Nifty’s to launch “Game of Thrones” NFTs for fans to collect customizable avatars inspired by characters from the series, weapons, companions, gear and more. This comes a week after Warner Bros. launched “Lord of the Rings” NFTs, another popular franchise that’ll likely help the company earn revenue.

Also, Zaslav made a smart move with the recent hire of James Gunn and Peter Safran as co-chairmen and chief executive officers of DC Studios. Gunn is a top filmmaker in the industry, with tons of impressive superhero titles under his belt. Safran will also make an excellent addition to the studio since he’s produced “Shazam” and “Aquaman.”

After years of working with Disney’s Marvel, Gunn turning over to Warner Bros.’ DC Entertainment marks a crucial moment for the company. Plus, after the extremely disappointing news that “Batgirl” was canceled, Zaslav has to work hard to get DC fans back on his side.

Warner Bros. Discovery falls short of expectations in Q3 despite success of “Game of Thrones” spinoff by Lauren Forristal originally published on TechCrunch

HBO Max is removing 36 titles and creators are not happy

HBO Max is continuing its content removal spree with 36 titles going off the service this week including 20 of its in-house productions. Other titles include originals from HBO and Cartoon Network along with a few acquired titles. The development first reported by Variety noted that this move was aligned with the big HBO Max-Discovery+ merger slotted to take place next year.

In order to prepare for the merger, the company has been silently removing titles for some weeks now. Earlier this month, during its quarterly earnings call, Warner Bros. Discovery said HBO Max will start showing Discovery+ reality shows from Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network starting September 30.

“As we work toward bringing our content catalogs together under one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both HBO Max and discovery+. That will include the removal of some content from both platforms,” the firm said in a statement to Variety. We have reached out to HBO Max to learn when exactly these titles will be removed.

The company is likely removing titles to cut costs and make way for newer titles in the combined service. While it’s just a money-saving tactic for the streaming giants, creatives are worried that their hard work in creating shows will be wasted because of executive decisions.

Julia Pot, the creator the of animated show “Summer Camp Island” said on Twitter that the makers didn’t have much information about the reasons behind this move. We have asked HBO Max for a comment on its communication with creators, and we will update the story if we hear back.

Here is the full list of titles being removed from the service:

HBO Max and HBO Originals

  • 12 Dates of Christmas
  • About Last Night
  • Aquaman: King of Atlantis
  • Close Enough
  • Ellen’s Next Great Designer
  • Esme & Roy
  • The Fungies!
  • Generation Hustle
  • Generation
  • Infinity Train
  • Little Ellen
  • My Mom, Your Dad
  • My Dinner with Herve
  • Odo
  • Ravi Patel’s Pursuit of Happiness
  • Summer Camp Island
  • Share
  • The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo
  • The Runaway Bunny
  • Theodosia
  • Tig n’ Seek
  • Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs

Cartoon Network

  • Dodo
  • Elliott From Earth
  • Mao Mao, Heroes of Pure Heart
  • Mighty Magiswords
  • OK K.O.! – Let’s Be Heroes
  • Uncle Grandpa
  • Victor and Valentino

Licensed Titles

  • Detention Adventure”
  • Messy Goes to Okido
  • Mia’s Magic Playground
  • The Ollie & Moon Show
  • Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures
  • Make It Big, Make It Small
  • Squish

HBO Max attempts to fix its notoriously buggy app with oft-requested features

For years, HBO Max has been under fire for its buggy app. Today, the streaming service’s re-platformed app completed its global rollout on desktop, iOS, Android and Amazon Fire tablets. New features include a shuffle button on mobile, SharePlay support for iPhone and iPad users in the U.S., a dedicated home for downloaded content and more.

With the shuffle button now on mobile devices in addition to desktop and connected TV apps, users can randomize which episode to play for select series on the streaming service. U.S. subscribers with an ad-free subscription can use SharePlay on their iPhone or iPad to watch HBO Max content in sync with friends or family while on FaceTime.

Other updates include:

  • A dedicated home for downloaded content
  • Tablet support for both landscape and portrait orientations
  • Chromecast stability improvements
  • An updated screen reader experience with better navigation elements and functionality
  • The ability to split screens with other apps on devices that allow that

The company also said that it upgraded the navigation and is giving users a “refined design and visual styling to let content shine.”

“The changes give our users more of the features they care most about, along with improved navigation and a more immersive canvas for storytelling, helping them click play on their favorite content faster and with less friction,” Kamyar Keshmiri, SVP, Product Design, Warner Bros. Discovery Streaming, said in an official statement.

The revamped mobile and desktop apps mean that the company has finished updating apps across all platforms.

The changes began last fall when the company replaced connected TV apps with a new, “more performant tech stack.” In April, HBO Max launched an updated app for Apple TV users that aimed to bring stability and improved performance to the app. Roku, PlayStation, Android, Samsung, LG, Vizio and more smart TV apps also use the new tech stack.

With a loss of 300,000 domestic subscribers in Q2, the company has a lot of work to do. Especially since its new streaming service is coming next year, merging Discovery+ and HBO Max content. So, while the new HBO Max app will be gone in 2023, this could help the company create a better successor app and improved experience for its combined subscribers.

Also, the new app comes just in time for the “Game of Thrones” prequel “The House of the Dragon,” premiering on August 21.


Get ready for a HBO Max – Discovery+ mashup app in 2023

The headline of Warner Bros. Discovery’s earnings call was something a lot of people dreaded: HBO Max and Discovery+ are merging into a new service. The company will roll out this new offering — which doesn’t have a name yet — for U.S.-based consumers in the summer of 2023, with LatAm expansion later that year, and the European market launch in 2024.

The firm aims to merge different offerings like acclaimed scripted shows such as “Succession,” “Euphoria,” and the upcoming “House of Dragons” from HBO Max and unscripted shows such as “90 Day Fiancé” and “Fixer Upper,” under one service.

Warner Bros. Discovery will start this merger process by cross-posting content on both services. Discovery+ will start showing CNN originals starting this month under a new tab, and HBO Max will gain some reality shows from Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network starting September 30.

The company also admitted that both HBO Max and Discovery had shortcomings from a product perspective, with the aim of the new product being to address those issues.

HBO Max app has a notorious reputation of being a buggy app with many issues:  the app freeze and crashing on Roku; unable to remember subtitle settings on Apple TV; and content being inaccessible at times. The HBO Max’s app ratings — 3.7 on the Google Play Store and just 2.8 on the Apple App Store — are reflective of customers experiencing multiple issues. In an interview with Protocol in April, HBO Max’s product head Sarah Lyons admitted that the company hurried out its apps despite knowing they were buggy in 2020.

On the other hand, the Discovery+ app’s performance is good, but it doesn’t have features like offline viewing and parental controls.

“HBO Max has a competitive feature set, but has had performance and customer issues. Discovery+ has best-in-class performance and consumer ratings, but more limited features. Our combined service will focus on delivering the best of both, market-leading features with world-class performance,” Jean-Briac Perrette, the firm’s CEO and president for global streaming and gaming, said on the earnings call.

The company mentioned that apart from the merger of existing services, it’s also exploring an ad-supported free offering for people who don’t want to pay subscription money. The firm will reveal more details about this plan at its investor day later this year. Notably, rival streaming company Netflix will also introduce an ad-supported version of its service next year.

Over the last few days, HBO Max has been facing a lot of criticism for silently pulling down titles from its service and canceling high-budget projects like “Batgirl”.

The announcement of the HBO Max-Discovery+ merger confirms a report by The Wrap about a major streaming strategy shakeup at Warner Bros. Discovery that might result in layoffs days before the earnings result. However, the company didn’t mention any people-related restructuring during its earnings call. We have asked the company for a comment, and we’ll update the story if we hear back.

Apart from the big app merge, Warner Bros. Discovery announced that it has 92 million combined subscribers — 76.8 million from HBO and HBO Max and 24 million from Discovery+. The firm registered $9.8 billion in revenue, well short of analysts’ estimate of $11.91 billion.

HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+ report a combined total of 92.1M subscribers, plans for major restructuring

Warner Bros. Discovery revealed its second-quarter results — its first quarterly earnings since the $43 billion merger.

The total number of direct-to-consumer subscribers across HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+ was 92.1 million in the second quarter of 2022, up 1.7 million from the end of Q1 with 90.4 million subscribers. The company did not break down the over-the-top streaming services’ numbers individually, so it’s unclear what the exact number is in terms of HBO Max and Discovery+ subscriptions.

The company also reported a loss of 300,000 domestic subscribers, a decrease from 53.3 million to 53 million.

In the prior quarter, WarnerMedia had reported a combined 76.8 million HBO and HBO Max subscribers and Discovery+ had 24 million. The total topped 100 million subscribers. The discrepancy with today’s numbers is due to how the previous owner, AT&T, had counted wireless customers on plans that bundled HBO Max.

When announcing Q2 results, Warner Bros. Discovery wrote in its letter, “The new definition resulted in the exclusion of 10 million legacy Discovery non-core subscribers and unactivated AT&T mobility subscribers from the Q1 subscriber count.”

During its earnings call, the company disclosed that the upcoming combined streaming service will launch in the U.S. in the summer of 2023, with Latin America to follow that same year. It will rollout in European markets and Asia Pacific territories in 2024. Warner Bros. Discovery also said it was exploring a free ad-supported tier.

“Once our SVOD service is firmly established in the market, we see real potential and are exploring the opportunity for a fast or free ad-supported streaming offering that will give consumers who do not want to pay a subscription fee access to great library content, while at the same time serving as an entry point to our premium service,” the company stated.

In June, AT&T also dropped its plan for new customers that gave users HBO Max as a bundled perk. However, announced in the Q2 results, Warner Bros. Discovery said it re-extended its agreement with AT&T.

“AT&T continues to be an important partner, and we are thrilled that HBO Max will continue to be part of AT&T internet and mobility plans,” said Scott Miller, executive vice president, Distribution, Warner Bros. Discovery, in a statement.

Although Wall Street expected $11.91 billion in revenue, the company missed the mark this quarter with a reported $9.8 million in revenue. Warner Bros. Discovery experienced a net loss of $3.4 million, which includes $1 million of restructuring “and other charges,” according to the report.

Discovery and WarnerMedia reported separate and very different results last quarter. While WarnerMedia’s operating income declined 32.7% year over year, Discovery saw an increase of 13%, with its total revenue at $3.16 million.

The company has a debt load of around $53 billion and is cutting costs to reach a target of $3 billion in savings. This could explain the alterations to its content lineup as well as rumored staff changes.

For instance, The Wrap heard from sources that layoffs were expected in the coming months due to the restructuring of streaming platforms HBO Max and Discovery+. One source reported that 70% of the development staff may be laid off. While layoffs are standard when it comes to company mergers, some sources speculate that the move will result in HBO Max losing executives, and a line will be drawn to separate scripted and unscripted content operations.

TechCrunch reached out to the company for comment and is awaiting a response.

During its earnings call, Andrew Slaven, executive vice president, Global Investor Strategy, said, “We’ve been able to dig deeper into the financials and have gained a much better, more complete picture of where we are and the path forward, including identifying some additional and unexpected challenges that have and will continue to acquire our focus and attention. The upside is that there is even more room for improvement and cost savings.”

The new Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has gone on a canceling spree lately, as subscribers were met with disappointment and outrage yesterday with the news that “Batgirl” had been shelved because of poor reception from test audiences. There goes an estimated $70 to $90 million down the drain — which we’d like to add is still less than the short-lived $300 million streaming service CNN+ that Zaslav axed in April.

“Scoob!: Holiday Haunt” was also pulled on Wednesday.

Zaslav removed six original films from the service, including the reboot “The Witches,” as well as “Moonshot,” “An American Pickle,” “Superintelligence,” “Charm City Kings” and “Locked Down.” While content gets removed from streaming services all the time — take Netflix for example — what was unusual about this move was that Warner Bros. Discovery did it quietly.

Redditors have previously noticed a handful of other shows missing like “Amsterdam,” “Final Space,” “Czech It Out” and more. Lance St. Laurent pointed out on Twitter that “Vinyl” was also taken down without warning. Laurent said it was “troubling” as Max originals weren’t the only ones getting axed. “Vinyl” was an HBO show that has long since been canceled.

When a subscriber wondered why “Full Bloom” was missing from HBO Max’s lineup, the company tweeted in response,

The company made the decision to cease new original programming in parts of Europe last month, as reported by Variety. Plus, it shut down Cinemax Go, its free streaming service, on July 31.

However, on September 30, HBO Max will gain content from Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network. Last year, the Gaines struck a partnership with Discovery, launching the Magnolia linear and streaming channel. Discovery+ will still have programming from the Magnolia Network on its platform. HBO Max will get titles such as “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” “The Lost Kitchen,” “Restoration Road with Clint Harp” and many others. Discovery+ has a drastically different target audience than HBO Max, so it’s unclear whether this was the right move.

Also, CNN Originals will get its own hub on Discovery+, with original series like “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy” and “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” moving to the service. Shortly after CNN+ was shuttered, HBO Max got CNN titles like “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace.”

Zaslav has been adamant that the company will focus on smart spending. However, it’s worrisome that Zaslav may be making content decisions based on making the accounting books look better rather than focusing on appeasing viewers with the content they enjoy.

In today’s letter to shareholders, Zaslav wrote, “We’re confident we’re on the right path to meet our strategic goals and really excel, both creatively and financially, and couldn’t be more excited about the future of our company.”

It’s likely the company will keep the biggest shows on HBO Max. Especially since HBO received 140 Emmy nominations this year, and “Succession” was the most nominated series with 25 noms.

Warner Bros. Discovery ceases new HBO Max originals in Europe and shutters Cinemax Go

HBO Max will cease new original programming in parts of Europe and the company will also shut down Cinemax’s TV Everywhere platform, Cinemax Go as its parent company Warner Bros. Discovery moves through a restructuring.

As reported by Variety on Monday, HBO Max originals like Hungarian drama “The Informant,” Swedish comedy “Lust,” and “Kamikaze” from Denmark will be removed from the service in European territories such as Central Europe, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and Turkey.

On July 31, Warner Bros. Discovery is shuttering the free streaming service, Cinemax Go, which simplifies the number of streaming services in its portfolio.

The changes will save money for the company, keeping it on track for its previously revealed cost-cutting plan that has a target of $3 billion in savings. The company has a debt load of around $55 billion and its share price has steadily dropped since the merger between Discovery and WarnerMedia, with its current market cap sitting at approximately $34.29 billion.

In regard to the removal of European programming, the company told Variety, “As we continue to work on combining HBO Max and Discovery+ into one global streaming service showcasing the breadth of content across Warner Bros. Discovery, we are reviewing our current content proposition on the existing services.”

The upcoming integration of Discovery+ content into the HBO Max platform continues to be the priority, and removing content is a strategic move. While other services like Netflix and Disney+ focus on international programming as a way to increase their subscribers, Warner Bros. Discovery is concentrating on trimming costs.

Variety’s report indicates that shows that are already in production or have previously been green-lit will continue. Also, originals in Spain and France have been spared and will not receive the same fate as the original content in the aforementioned European territories.

Image Credits: Cinemax

The decision to sunset Cinemax Go entirely is a given since subscribers can no longer use the app on iOS or Android devices, and instead, have to go to the site via desktop.

Cinemax Go is a streaming service that is free to users with a Cinemax subscription through a pay TV provider. The purpose of it is to allow subscribers to watch content on the go. However, when HBO Max launched in 2020, Cinemax Go’s app was removed from mobile devices. The Cinemax Go app used to be called Max GO so the removal was likely done to prevent confusion from the two services.

Original programming for Cinemax Go is no longer produced, which has been the case since 2020. There are only seven shows on the platform, including “Banshee,” “The Knick,” “Hunted,” “Jett,” “Quarry,” “Trackers,” and “Warrior.” Four shows — “Banshee,” “Jett,” “The Knick,” and “Warrior” — are already available on HBO Max, as are many of the Cinemax films, making the need for Cinemax Go more obsolete.

When Cinemax Go officially leaves at the end of this month, subscribers can use their traditional TV subscription to watch content on either Cinemax, the HBO-owned TV network, or its other linear channels– MoreMax, 5StarMax, ActionMax, Cinemáx, MovieMax, OuterMax, and ThrillerMax— or on-demand.

Warner Bros. Discovery has undergone significant restructuring since the merger closed in April, and CEO David Zaslav has left no stone unturned as he looks to get under budget as fast as possible. Not only was CNN+ eradicated less than a month after launching, but the company also scrapped film and TV projects, including passing on J.J. Abrams’ $250 million HBO show “Demimonde.” CEO Zaslav also eliminated multiple layers of executives since taking the helm.

The streaming world has been looking a bit bleak lately. Netflix continues to struggle with budget cuts that involve over 400 employees and contractors losing their jobs. More layoffs are expected with HBO Max as well, due to the news that original programming in the European regions is ending.

Y Combinator announces Launch YC, a way for its portfolio to shout to the public

Y Combinator has announced Launch YC, a platform where people can sort accelerator startups by industry, batch and launch date to discover new products. The famed accelerator, which has seeded the likes of Instacart, Coinbase, OpenSea and Dropbox, invites users to vote for newly launched startups “to help them climb up the leaderboard, try out product demos, and learn about the founding team.”

In a blog post announcing the news, Y Combinator said that the program has existed for years but only internally for YC founders.

Y Combinator is using Launch to target founders, developers, investors and job-seekers looking for the “Stripes and Airbnbs of the future.” Y Combinator founders, meanwhile, can launch on any day at any time. YC Head of Communications Lindsay Amos said that YC founders who are currently participating in an accelerator batch can announce via Launch before Demo Day. To me, it makes the biannual event a more evergreen affair.

“​​We did this to solve a problem every founder faces: getting in front of early customers and investors,” Amos said over email.

Launch YC feels like Y Combinator’s strategically sound answer to one of the loudest critiques of its model in recent years: as its cohort size has bloated, standing out within a batch is harder than ever. As standing out inside of YC has become more difficult, and given how important distribution is for early-stage startups, YC offering a way for startups to make a bit more noise might make the implied equity cost of its program more attractive.

In my view, it looks like the accelerator is taking a not-so-subtle swipe at Product Hunt, a nearly decade-old website — and Y Combinator alum — that is the go-to place for founders to launch their products and services to users. Unlike Product Hunt, Y Combinator doesn’t have a comment section, yet they are taking feature requests. As of right now, Launch will only be for recently backed YC companies and product updates from YC alumni.

In response to questions about the overlap between the two institutions, Amos wrote that “we encourage YC founders to launch on many platforms — from the YC Directory to Product Hunt to Hacker News to Launch YC — in order to reach customers, investors, and candidates.”

Eva Longoria and Chris Wallace CNN+ shows will move to HBO Max and CNN

Programming that was originally meant to live on the now-shuttered streamer CNN+ will now move over to CNN and HBO Max, Warner Bros. Discovery announced today at its first Upfront presentation for advertisers. Shows moving to the linear CNN network include “Eva Longoria: Searching for Mexico” and “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy.” Another title that had been meant for CNN+, “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace” —starring former longtime Fox News anchor Chris Wallace — will move to both HBO Max and CNN in the fall.

It is unknown at this time where the rest of the CNN+ slate will end up, however, or if select CNN+ titles will later arrive on HBO Max further down the road.

Before the launch of CNN+, HBO Max was the streaming home of many CNN titles, including “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.” HBO Max is a good place for these shows, as Warner Bros. Discovery shared with advertisers that HBO Max and discovery+ are enhancing the consumer experience with a light ad load, with less than four minutes of commercials per hour on average. Additionally, 80% of viewers watch HBO Max and discovery+ on their TV screens, and half are cord-cutters. According to the company, this extends the reach of advertisers into non-cable homes.

We aren’t sure what the combined streaming service will look like once HBO Max and discovery+ fully merge. However, the variety of content — including CNN titles — offered will certainly attract a diverse audience.

Also, at the company’s Upfront presentation, Chris Licht, chairman and CEO, CNN Worldwide, announced the launch of a topical, long-form news show as well as upcoming titles like “The Story of HQ Trivia,” “See It Loud: The History of Black Television,” “The 2010s,” “Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down” and “Little Richard: I Am Everything.”

The 2023 programming slate is an attempt made by CNN for a comeback as the recently launched streaming service. The short-lived streaming service, CNN+ reportedly saw under 10,000 viewers a day and was shut down at the end of April. It seems that CEO David Zaslav was not about to let this tarnish the newly merged Warner Bros. Discovery.

On CNBC’s Squawk Box, Zaslav said, “We looked at it, and we looked at the data, the number of users … They had spent an enormous amount of money trying to sell an independent product. The subscribers weren’t there. The users weren’t there … when we looked at the data, the business wasn’t there.”

Lasting nearly 30 days, the cable news network’s streaming service spent $250 million to launch the product and another $100 million to promote it. The New York Times reported CNN had planned to spend more than $1 billion on CNN+ over four years, according to sources familiar with the matter. Thus, Zaslav was (rightfully so) unwilling to invest any further into the platform.

But CNN itself isn’t going anywhere, and the Warner Bros. Discovery CEO is bullish on the brand. At the Upfront presentation, the company expressed its determination to reinforce CNN’s role as a top news organization. Licht boasted that CNN is “the number one digital property in the world.”

He added:

The next chapter of CNN is one where we aspire to be a beacon for the kind of journalism essential to a functioning democracy. The time when extremes are dominating cable news. We will seek to go a different way, reflecting the real lives of our viewers and elevating the way America and the world view this medium. We intend to challenge the traditional philosophy of cable news, delivering programming and commentary that questions the status quo, shatters groupthink, holds our leaders on both sides of the aisle accountable to facts and fights fearlessly to get to the truth.