Departing HBO Max Content to Live Another Day on AVOD

Following consummation of the $43 billion WarnerMedia/Discovery merger in April, new Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has made no secret of his desire to cut operating expenses, including generating $3.5 billion in cost synergies in the first year.

Those cuts have included aggressive scaling back on content production, canceling shows, and most recently, yanking complete series such as former flagship show “Westworld” off the company’s high profile HBO Max streaming platform.

Now, WBD is confirming where much of that content is headed: Third party ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) services as well as a new branded ad-supported VOD (AVOD) service similar to Paramount’s Pluto TV and Fox’s Tubi.

In addition to “Westworld,” impacted programs include “The Nevers” season one; “Raised by Wolves” seasons one and two; “FBOY Island” seasons one and two; “Legendary” seasons one, two and three; “Finding Magic Mike” season one; “Head of the Class” season one; and “The Time Traveler’s Wife” season one.

In a statement, WBD said it is licensing the programming to drive new, expanded audiences for these series. It also said it would announce details about its own long-term WBD FAST offering next year.

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“As we prepare for this transition, these series will be coming off of the HBO Max service in the coming days,” the company wrote.

In addition to the aforementioned content, Max is in discussions with the studio partners to further expand the reach of programs such as “Gordita Chronicles” season one; “Love Life” seasons one and two; “Made for Love” seasons one and two; “The Garcias” season one; and “The Minx” seasons one and two, to third party FAST platforms.

Separately, in a Dec. 14 regulatory filing, WBD disclosed it is increasing projected pre-tax merger restructuring charges to $4.1 billion to $5.3 billion, which includes $2.8 billion to $3.5 billion of content impairment and development write-offs. The company previously said it expected restructuring charges to total from $3.2 billion to $4.3 billion, which included content impairment and development write-offs of approximately $2 billion to $2.5 billion.

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