Discovery+ Will Remain A Standalone App Why It’s The Right Move

It looks like Warner Brothers Discovery has been listening to customers. For the past many months, the talk has been that the new company was going to build a new app that combined Discovery+, which is essentially a lifestyle and reality TV mecca with HBO Max, a hub of edgy original dramas, Movies from major studios, DC Comics content, Turners classic library and more. When HBO Max first began to talk up the idea The Streaming Advisor made a point to say it was not a good idea. The two audiences are so different. Sure there is some crossover. But not so much that you would not really piss off the audience of either service by increasing the price in order to force both on them. It feels way too much like the cable model. “Here is stuff you didn’t ask for, we are raising the price. You’re welcome!”

CNET by way of the Wallstreet Journal is reporting that Warner Brothers Discovery has decided not to shut down Discovery+ as a standalone app after all. According to the reporting, the idea is to retain the Discovery+ customer base who may not be willing to pay more for the more expensive HBO Max. The cliche that hindsight is 2020 has always bothered me. Because often people say it when a terrible idea was staring them right in the face ahead of time and they were too stupid to notice it.

Well, it looks like Warner Brothers Discovery either thought things through or heard the calls from fans of both services and made the right decision ahead of time instead of ruining an inexpensive and popular app that serves as a big cord-cutting tool for those who love home shows, Cooking shows, and reality TV in general but don’t want to foot a big bill to watch it. The company still plans to put some content from Discovery+ on HBO Max or the new service if it is actually rebranded, which would be a third rebrand following HBO Now and HBO Max. Hindsight should tell Warner Brothers Discovery that renaming a service, again and again, is more likely to create confusion than excitement. Just ask former AT&T property, (DirecTV Now, ATT TV Now, DirecTV Stream). While Paramount Inc renamed the CBS All Access App, Paramount+ it did so because the app really started as an extension of CBS with new streaming content but later grew to include multiple content libraries from Viacom and changed its overall focus over time making the name seem inadequate to describe the service.

On the other hand, HBO Max, even with more content from various Discovery+ partners is still very much an outgrowth of HBO. Its still a service with all of HBO’s originals and blockbuster movies at the center of its programming. A revamped app design would be more than welcome in order to make things more simple but I don’t know what WBD would gain by changing its name to MAX or anything else for that matter. HBO is a premium brand that matters. Why lose it and have to spend time explaining that MAX is an app with HBO Content and other things when it can instead say “With HBO Max you get this and that along with HBO content?” It’s a much easier elevator conversation.

So good on WBD for changing course on that decision. Discovery+ fans will breathe a sigh of relief and HBO Fans now won’t worry about getting a higher bill for the privilege of watching programming they could have signed up for but chose not to in the first place. And in the end, the company can still offer both at a bundled price to catch the folks that really do want both. As for me and my house, I love cooking shows, remodeling shows, history channel content, and HBO original series. But I don’t assume most people are like me. And its a good thing that WBD has not either.