“Genredoms”, “Male Crookedness”, and other stupid things from the current HBO Max/Discovery+ merger

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Image: Warner Bros. Discovery

After days of precision ax shooting to the library of his own streaming service, HBO Max, David Zaslav, CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery went for the murder today. In conversation with investors, Zaslav revealed on a Q2 earnings call his plan to fuse HBO Max and Discovery+ into one big, mushy ball of content that is absolutely, strengthen won’t have one batgirl movies on it.

Let’s be honest: It’s never great, PR wise, when the images or language evoke this kind of revenue – which by their very nature cook all the arts and entertainment in a thin mush of financial credits and minuses for being fed into The Investors’ ever-hungry maw – make it gen-pop for wider discussion. But Zaslav’s presentation came in today for some extra special spot onlinespecially for a slide claiming to show the differences between the two streaming Services that will now be bridged by their forthcoming unholy spawn.

HBO Max, we’re told, is “masculine skewed,” “scripted,” “lean in,” “watch appointment,” and, of course, “home of fandoms.” Discovery+ meanwhile is “female skew”, “unscripted”, “lean back”, “comfort viewing” and “house of genre domes’ – which we’re pretty sure is the case when a classic science fiction novel hits the… old sex jeans and gives you the Christian gray treatment. The “fandom” vs. “genredom” thing is mostly unfathomable, but we get the feeling that people largely wouldn’t have roasted the sliding too bad if Zaslav hadn’t opened up with the whole “male crooked” vs “female skewed” thing –especially because a) we can name any number of HBO Max shows with passionate female audiences (and vice versa for Discovery+), and b), all of the descriptions for Discovery+ seem precision engineered to annoy passionate pop culture fans like, say, the people who really care about your poor, disheveled streaming service, David.

Zaslav also posted a slide of the paired streaming services’ various assets, including a “franchise” entry featuring Harry Potter, the DC Superhero movies, and, of course, the 90 day fiance Universe, a vast cosmology of TV products about marrying people in less time than most people spend with a toothbrush. (Wait, should we change our toothbrushes more often?)

Wthat’s usually stupid, but not necessary a downer. But never fear: Zaslav had there’s a slide for that too. In particular, he had one that describes all the alleged money-losing sins committed by its predecessors, including CNN+ (which now also included in Discovery+). The humdinger is like this line item (emphasis ours): “Approved additional expenditure for projects with uncertain financial returns including Kids & AnimationCNN+, select Turner originals, and select direct-to-HBO Max movies.) God forbid a studio spends money on TV or movies with “uncertain financial returns,” but don’t worry: Zaslav has a solution. Here’s a quick tip, kids: If someone tells their investors they’re “restructuring” your job’s “content portfolio,” it’s probably time to draft some cover letters. The company’s CFO later confirmed during the call that a significant portion of the company’s children and animation projects were on the chopping block.

Amid all the carnage, Zaslav and his team have also drawn up a timeline for the merging of the two services: we can expect them to relaunch as one entity in the summer of 2023, no name or price points announced. The hybrid service is expected to launch in both ad-free and ad-supported forms.

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