New Streaming Service from Warner Bros. Discovery Could Change the Way Netflix Does Business

On April 12, in a shot across the bow, Warner Bros. announced the imminent launch of its new streaming service, Max. The venture marks the first major collaboration between Warner Bros. and Discovery since the two companies merged in 2022.

Max will launch May 23 with an impressive collection of shows from across the entertainment spectrum. The new service hopes to challenge behemoth Netflix, which may be justified if it feels threatened by the weight of Warner Bros. Discovery, which owns HBO and Warner Animation Studios.

Warner can rely on an unprecedented roster of stars to entice subscribers, such as Superman, Bugs Bunny, and Harry Potter.

Also among the myriad of properties owned by Warner Bros. is Warner Bros. Pictures Group, which consists of signature brand Warner Bros. Pictures, as well as New Line Cinema, Castle Rock Entertainment, and DC Studios. It also owns Turner Classic Movies,

Warner Bros. Discovery could leverage these brands and franchises on its new streaming service:

  • Harry Potter
  • Superman
  • Batman
  • Game of Thrones
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Sesame Street
  • Looney Tunes

As well as popular HBO series such as Barry, The Last Of Us, and Curb Your Enthusiasm, and legacy HBO hits like The Sopranos, The Wire, and Sex In The City.

Batman and Tony Soprano Represent the Unique Strength of Warner’s Streaming Content

Netflix has more than 70 million subscribers and owns 33 percent of the U.S. streaming market, according to Kiplinger. However, the streaming giant is falling back to the field, having lost more than 10 percent of the market share since 2020. That’s because the streaming field is crowded with rivals Apple TV Plus, Disney Plus, and others.

But where other streaming services often scramble for content or must rely on their own stable of programming (think Paramount Plus and Peacock), Warner Bros. Discovery can offer lucrative movie franchises, binge-worthy TV shows, and popular award-winning children’s programming.

That’s why Max could whittle away at Netflix and other streaming services like Prime Video, which ranks second with about 20% of the market.

HBO Max will disappear on May 23, to be replaced by Max. That means 35 million HBO Max subscribers will be moved over. Combined with the 15 million Discovery Plus streaming subscribers, that places Warner Bros. properties about 20 million behind Netflix.

Max will offer three pricing options: $19.99 per month for highest quality streaming without advertisements; $15.99 for lower quality; and $9.99 for streaming with ads.

Will Warner Seek Sports Broadcasting Rights?

You may not think of sports when you think of Warner Bros. The brand evokes flying superheroes wearing tights or teenagers waving magic wands. But Warner has several options to add sports to Max.

Warner owns and broadcasts sports programming on TBS, TNT, and AT&T SportsNet. It has broadcast deals in place with the NCAA, NBA, PGA Tour, and PGA. If you watch NBA TV, you’re watching content partially or wholly owned by Warner.

What if Warner folded its early round NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament coverage, typically seen on TNT, TBS, and TruTV, into Max?

What if Max was the exclusive online home of a weekly NBA game? Or a spectacle like the World Baseball Classic (Warner owns 30 percent of MLB TV).

If Warner adds a big punch of sports to Max, to go along with immensely popular products like HBO’s Succession, White Lotus, and House of the Dragon, there’s no reason it couldn’t close the gap and catch Netflix, which has very little live sports programming.