Warner Bros. Discovery said that some of the shows that it has been moving off of HBO and HBO Max in order to save money will be licensed to third-party free, ad-supported streaming TV services.
The company has ditched the "everything streaming" strategy that WarnerMedia executives have been following before WarnerMedia was acquired by Discovery. Instead, the company will make decisions about how to monetize shows on a case-by-case basis.
The change in strategy comes as debt-laden Warner Bros. Discovery looks to cut $3.5 billion in costs. On Wednesday it declared it would be taking charges against earnings of $4.1 billion to $5.3 billion, including content impairment charges of $2.8 billion to $3.5 billion.
Warner Bros. Discovery said it planned to get into the FAST business, but for now is aiming to sell packages of its shows to existing streaming platforms such as Roku, Amazon Freevee, Samsung and Xumo.
"Warner Bros. Discovery continues to strategically assess how best to maximize audiences and monetization opportunities for its content," the company said in a statement. "The company has recently decided to license certain HBO and HBO Max original programming to third party FAST services to be part of a packaged offering which will drive new, expanded audiences for these series. As we prepare for this transition, these series will be coming off of the HBO Max service."
The shows no longer on HBO Max include the popular series Westworld.
Warner Bros. Discovery released a statement from Westworld creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy that seemed to support the move, "We are incredibly proud of Westworld and the remarkable work of our cast and crew. We are excited to have the opportunity to welcome a whole new audience to our show," they said.
Other shows heading for FAST platforms are season 1 of The Nevers, seasons 1 and 2 of Raised by Wolves, seasons 1 and 2 of FBoy Island, seasons 1, 2 and 3 of Legendary, season 1 of Finding Magic Mike, season 1 of Head of the Class, and season 1 of The Time Traveler’s Wife.
Warner Bros. Discovery said more series will be coming off HBO Max in the coming days.
"HBO Max is speaking with the studio partners about opportunities to further expand the reach of the shows, including but not limited to licensing the series to third party FAST platforms," the company said in a statement.
That group of shows is season 1 of Gordita Chronicles, seasons 1 and 2 of Love Life, seasons 1 and 2 of Made for Love, season 1 of The Garcias, and seasons 1 and 2 of Minx.
Warner Bros. Discovery said additional details about its own FAST offering will be announced in 2023. ■
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Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.