Twenty HBO Max original shows produced by Warner Bros. Discovery are being dropped because they failed to draw sizable audiences.
Reality or kid and family material makes up the majority of what HBO Max is deleting.
In order to save expenses and implement a new plan as it gets ready to combine with Discovery+ next year, HBO Max is quitting the show.
HBO Max, a portal run by Warner Bros. Discovery, is eliminating 36 films and TV shows. There are three primary explanations behind it.
By the end of Friday, the movies and TV shows—which include 20 original HBO Max programmes including the adolescent thriller “Generation” and the “Sesame Street” offshoot “The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo”—will be taken down. The choice was made before Warner Bros. Discovery announced its intention to combine Discovery+ and HBO Max into a single service that would debut in the United States in the middle of 2023.
We’ll be changing the content accessible on HBO Max and Discovery+ as we continue to consolidate our content libraries into a single platform. The removal of some content from both platforms will be part of that, an HBO Max spokeswoman said in a statement.
Given how many underutilised episodes and movies there are on streaming platforms, HBO Max’s decision to delete series it created particularly for the service may seem unusual. But for Warner Bros. Discovery, there are three key reasons for the cuts: cutting expenses, avoiding family-friendly programming, and cleaning up the service.
HBO Max is still responsible for residuals, including so-called back-end payments to cast, crew, and writers, depending on long-term audience figures, even if it previously paid for the creation of these programmes.
Executives can quickly reduce costs by getting rid of these movies and TV series, particularly the ones HBO Max made rather than licenced. Synergies resulting from the combination of WarnerMedia and Discovery, announced in May, have been guaranteed by Warner Bros. Discovery to be worth at least $3 billion.
According to two persons with knowledge of the situation who declined to be identified because the financial details are secret, the content eliminations will together save “tens of millions of dollars.”
The justification for cancelling the superhero film “Batgirl” earlier this month was different. This choice took advantage of a tax incentive for mergers involving a change in business strategy that permitted the depreciation of unfinished work. HBO Max programmes are not eligible for that advantage because they have already begun airing and have been available on the service.
In order to increase money by removing material, Warner Bros. may also sell the programmes it has deleted under a licence to another streaming service. That may offer at least some of the TV episodes and films removed from HBO Max a second chance.
Avoiding family and children
Reality television or family-friendly programming makes up the majority of what HBO Max is pulling. (A complete list of the content that has been deleted is provided at the conclusion of this piece.)
HBO Max will receive its unscripted content from Discovery, which will also add almost all of its reality TV offerings to the merged service the following year, including those from HGTV, Food Network, and Animal Plant. This week, HBO Max fired off 14% of its workforce, a large portion of whom were employed in its unscripted section.+
It’s new to shift away from family-friendly and kid-friendly material. Executives at HBO Max came to the conclusion that parents do not subscribe to the service to watch children’s shows. According to those with direct knowledge of the situation, even “Sesame Street,” which HBO Max purchased in 2019 in a five-year contract, isn’t generating significant ratings. The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo and roughly 200 earlier episodes of the show were taken down as a result, according to the sources.
HBO focuses on adult-themed programming with a male audience in mind. Discovery specialises on reality television with an explicit theme that attracts more female viewers. The integrated services are directed towards both adult gender groups, but not at children. According to the sources, Warner Bros. Discovery has chosen to steer clear of the sector with its next investment budget rather than producing new content to satisfy that niche.
Executives in the streaming sector routinely discuss how Netflix has a “discovery” issue. They claim that because Netflix has so much programming, finding the finest of it might be challenging. Netflix has hundreds of series that get lost in the shuffle because there is so much material clogging up the search process, despite the fact that it tries to counteract this using algorithms and Top 10 lists.
People with knowledge of the situation claim that “HBO Max” wasn’t routinely watched for anything that was being withdrawn.
Executives from Warner Bros. Discovery are afraid that HBO Max may get clogged with underutilised movies and television programmes due to the upcoming arrival of Discovery+ programming. One HBO Max official, who requested not to be identified because the decision was private, said it may lead users to connect the service with having a lot of content they don’t want to watch — the “Netflix problem.”
The issue has also plagued conventional pay-TV. Over the years, the price of cable TV has skyrocketed, rising to an average of $100 per month, while the number of cable networks added has increased steadily. As a result, cable TV has been widely rejected by consumers.
One of the reasons Disney has generally kept Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu distinct is the danger of having too much material. Executives at Disney have long believed that customers will pay less for a more specialised experience.
David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, may want to increase the cost of a combined HBO Max-Discovery+ offering, especially in light of recent price increases by rivals Disney and Netflix. It could be possible to explain the increase by removing infrequently seen content while introducing a tonne of new Discovery + material.