There's a new streaming service of Frankenstein proportions launching soon

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Watching TV. (Photo: Getty Images)
Watching TV. (Photo: Getty Images)
  • HBO Max and discovery+ will be combining forces to create a new streaming service.
  • This relaunch will take place in 2023.
  • A release date for the service in the African market has not been announced.

South Africans are already stretching their pockets to subscribe to the influx of new streaming services in the country – and now a new super-streaming service is launching abroad.

Local viewers currently have access to streaming services like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney+, Showmax, Apple+, BritBox, and more. But a new streaming service with massive scale might in the future cause a bit of a problem for those hoping to keep their viewing costs low.

The newly combined Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) released its second-quarter earnings report late on Thursday night. It confirmed that its streaming services HBO Max and discovery+ would combine forces under a new name which will be "relaunched" next year. 

"At the end of the day, putting all the content together was the only way we saw to make this a viable business," JB Perrette, WBD CEO and president of global streaming and games said. 

WBD own the rights to content like the Harry Potter series, DC Comics, and popular TV shows like Friends, Game of Thrones, and Westworld.

The newly combined streaming service will initially be focused on subscription-driven sign-ups, although it also plans to launch a cheaper ad-filled tier, similar to what Netflix and Disney+ plan to launch. After the American launch in 2023, WBD will launch its new combined streaming service in Europe in early 2024, Asia-Pacific countries in the middle of 2024, and other markets in late 2024. Africa and South Africa haven't been mentioned, meaning it would probably only get the service in either late 2024 at the earliest or some time from 2025.

The new streaming service plans to hit 130 million paying subscribers by 2025 in the highly competitive market, reports The Washington Post. For comparison, Disney+ in May announced it had 138 subscribers globally and Netflix last month reported it was sitting on 220 million subscribers worldwide. 

Warner Bros. Discovery also confirmed on Thursday night it's cutting back on kids' content, with the company running children's channels like Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Toonami, which are available as linear TV channels across sub-Saharan Africa on traditional satellite pay-TV services like MultiChoice's DStv and StarTimes' StarSat. 

On the earnings call, Gunnar Wiedenfels, WBD chief financial officer, said animation and kids content across both the streaming services and linear TV channels are getting cut back.  He also mentioned that WBD is ending local content investment in international markets, putting a question mark behind some of the local investments the company has been making in content like CN to the Rescue on Cartoon Network Africa and My Cartoon Friend, nominated for an upcoming Safta in the Best children's programme category. 

Gunnar Wiedenfels also mentioned that WBD will hit the pause button on new content licensing deals and that there will be a significant reduction in external content sales. 

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