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Warner Bros. Discovery Touts 24 Million Discovery+ Streaming Subscribers; 100 Million With HBO, HBO Max

Warner Bros. Discovery April 26 reported 24 million first-quarter (ended March 31) direct-to-consumer subscribers, which largely includes the Discovery+ streaming service, up 2 million subs since the end of Q4 on Dec. 31, 2021.

When including 76.8 million HBO and HBO Max subscribers, the company now has more than 100 million SVOD subs worldwide.

WBD, which is the new corporate moniker following the April 8 closing of the $43 billion asset combination between WarnerMedia and Discovery Inc., did not include WarnerMedia results in its first-ever quarterly fiscal report.

The Discovery+ streaming platform helped WBD up U.S. distribution revenue 11% to $886 million from $796 million in the prior-year period. Internationally, the SVOD, along with foreign properties Eurosport.com and Global Cycling Network, helped up distribution revenue 4% to $536 million, from $514 million in the prior-year period.

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When including advertising revenue, U.S. Networks revenue increased 7% to more than $1.9 billion from $1.8 billion primarily due to higher pricing and the continued monetization of content offerings on the company’s next generation initiatives, partially offset by secular declines in the pay-TV ecosystem and lower overall ratings.

In the company’s first fiscal call, CEO David Zaslav said ongoing internal restructuring would continue to put a focus on monetizing “everything,” not rolling back the theatrical window on Warner Bros. Pictures movies, and not outspending the competition (i.e., Netflix) on content.

“When you open a movie in theaters, it has a whole stream of monetization,” Zaslav said on the call. “More importantly, it’s marketed. It builds a brand so when it does go to a streaming service there’s a view that [the movie] has a higher quality that benefits the streaming service.”

The CEO said, “each and every decision” would be made through “the lens of analyzing asset value,” as the new company looks to cut $3 billion in synergistic cost savings, which includes layoffs.

Indeed, one of the first fiscal casualties was the shuttering of the CNN+ streaming service just weeks after its launch, including investment of more than $300 million. CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels said the decision was “exhibit A” in restructuring, adding that “2022 [would] undoubtedly be a messy year.”

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