Media conglomerates are looking to optimize their streaming portfolios in the midst of a hyper competitive market, but their strategies vary widely. While some are opting to centralize content under one branded service, others are continuing to operate multiple standalone streaming services or are still deliberating on the best course of action. To better understand these business decisions, we decided to take a look at how consumers respond to these shifts in strategy using the recent Warner Brothers Discovery (WBD) rebrand to Max as a case study of sorts.
WBD has included the bulk of Discovery+ content to Max users, while continuing to operate Discovery+ as a standalone service.
Overall, Discovery+ subscribers are down -2.4% while Max subscribers are up +27.7% YoY. The cohort of users who subscribe to both Max and Discovery+ is also up +20.9% YoY. (It’s important to note that WBD doesn’t currently have a bundled offering of these services in the way that Disney (Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu) and Paramount (Paramount+, Showtime) have. As such, Antenna sees higher overlap rates between the Disney services and Paramount services than WBD’s.)
From an acquisition perspective, the data suggests that Max has been the primary driver. Max sign-ups grew +29.1% and 29.5% in 2H’22 and 1H’23, respectively, while Discovery+ sign-ups fell -4.9% and -20.6%.
Cancels to Discovery+ spiked, peaking at the rebrand, and they remained elevated. Antenna measured over 640k cancels to Discovery+ in June 2023, a +68.1% increase from June 2022. As you might expect, among consumers who canceled Discovery+ and switched to another service, Antenna observed Max as the most popular choice.
Of users who canceled Discovery+ and then subscribed to Max, 66% maintained the same plan tier (i.e. switched from ad-free Discovery+ to ad-free Max or vice versa). This is important to note, given the price differential among the services: ad-supported Max is currently $9.99/mo versus $4.99/mo for Discovery+; ad-free Max is $15.99/mo versus $6.99/mo for Discovery+.
For more detailed information on Antenna’s methodology and definitions of core metrics, please visit http://www.antenna.live/methodology.
Brendan Brady is a Content Strategy Associate at Antenna, a measurement and analytics company providing insight into purchase behavior and subscription metrics across the new media landscape.