CEO David Zaslav Unleashes His Inner Aquaman: Warner Bros. to Take on Streaming Titans with Franchise Waves

  • Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc WBD CEO David Zaslav's new streaming service 'Max' packs more promise.
  • Zaslav chose to drop the HBO label for Max as he introduced his new streaming service with a four-word message: "This is our time," Bloomberg reports.
  • Zaslav is adding lots of Discovery reality TV programming at no extra cost. The service offers more popular franchises like Harry PotterGame of Thrones, and DC. 
  • He looks to upgrade the user interface and personalize recommendations. He wants people to use it like Netflix Inc NFLX.
  • Zaslav aimed to convince the world that his company was due for a revival. 
  • Zaslav remains optimistic about 2023 after battling a rough 2022 when he restructured the company, fired thousands of employees, and dumped dozens of projects.
  • The stock gained 47.2% YTD after losing 43.6% last year.
  • Zaslav's film business desperately needs to return to pre-pandemic ticket sales, and his TV networks need more revenue from a shrinking subscriber base. 
  • Unless he splurges more in video games, his most significant growth opportunity is still streaming.
  • HBO Max's subscriber base trails Walt Disney Co DIS Disney+Amazon.Com, Inc AMZN, and Hulu.
  • U.S. viewers spend almost six times as many hours watching Netflix as HBO Max. That gap is more significant overseas, where Netflix has at least four times as many customers leading to the rebranding for the second time in three years.
  • Zaslav pitched AT&T Inc T CEO John Stankey to combine WarnerMedia with Discovery to reach the scale to compete. He is now remaking the streaming service into something big and broad.
  • Price Action: WBD shares closed lower by 1.85% at $13.78 on Friday.
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