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Discovery CEO Eyes HBO Max Sub Additions; Ex-Disney Streaming Boss Kevin Mayer Consulting

With Discovery Inc.’s $43 billion acquisition of WarnerMedia expected to be approved in 2022, Discovery CEO David Zaslav has great expectations for the pending Warner Bros. Discovery company he will oversee.

Speaking on the company’s Nov. 3 fiscal call, Zaslav said that less than half of the company’s Discovery+ U.S. subscribers also pay for HBO Max — suggesting room for growth across both platforms after the merger.

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“Assessing the overlap in respective subscriber bases, at least here in the U.S., we believe … [that] with the right packaging, [Max] provides a real opportunity to broaden the base of our combined offering,” Zaslav said. “And with our global appeal, infrastructure and local market capabilities, our international roadmap is very much still untapped and provides meaningful upside over the coming years.”

Discovery ended the third quarter (Sept. 30) with 20 million SVOD subscribers, led by Discovery+. The company doesn’t breakout separate subscriber data for its over-the-top video platforms, which include Golf TV, Eurosport and Global Cycling Network, among others.

HBO and HBO Max ended the quarter with a combined 69 million subscribers worldwide, including 45.2 million in the United States. WarnerMedia also does not publicly break out separate HBO and Max subscriber base data.

Kevin Mayer

Zaslav said that Kevin Mayer, the former boss of Disney’s direct-to-consumer operations and key driver of the Disney+ launch in 2019, is consulting with him on the pending Warner Bros. Discovery joint venture.

Mayer left Disney to briefly lead TikTok as CEO before departing when the social media platform became embroiled in a political spat with former President Trump.

When asked if Mayer would assume a permanent position on the pending Warner Bros. Discovery company, Zaslav said the former Disney executive has a lot of projects on his plate.

“[Mayer’s] a great entrepreneur and he’s got a number of really exciting things he is doing and working on,” Zaslav said. “This is one of them.”

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