WBD CFO Throws Down The Gauntlet: We're Not Dumping Brand Names. (Uh-Huh)
Gunnar Wiedenfels says the entertainment giant will rely heavily on ”household names“ to build buzz for its upcoming combined service
Warner Bros. Discovery Chief Financial Officer Gunnar Wiedenfels provided a few hints on Tuesday about how the entertainment giant envisions relaunching its streaming services under one flagship platform next year: Don’t expect to see any marquee names like Food Network vanish when the service rolls out.
Wiedenfels told investors at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology conference in San Francisco that the company has no plans to come up with generic verticals within the streaming platform that dumps content into buckets separating films from reality programming. Instead, WBD will leverage all of the brand names as a way to keep consumers happy — and fuel streaming subscriber growth internationally where some of the television content is already broadcast on linear television.
No, he didn’t provide any details on what Chief Executive David Zaslav is thinking about for a name for the combined streaming service that will rival Netflix and Disney+ in terms of size and reach. But it now seems less likely the “Discovery” name will take a starring role when a combined HBO Max and Discovery+ launches in the U.S. as a single service next summer.
“We have all these household names that are known internationally,” Wiedenfels said. “We’ll talk more about the specifics strategy at a later point. There’s a lot of value that we have these brands, and I think there’s a lot to be gained that these are established very powerful names in the market.”
Among the established brand names are Food Network, TLC and Discovery Channel on the Discovery side. Warner Bros. has banked on the iconic film studio’s fare.
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Both the HBO Max and Discovery+ services have a combined subscriber base of 92 million, with about four million of that an overlap. The company has internally forecast growing the new service to 130 million subscribers within the next few years — and that the streamer will be profitable by 2025.