Warner Bros. Discovery in Talks to License HBO Content to Netflix

Issa Rae’s acclaimed dramedy “Insecure” is among shows that might end up on the rival streamer

The cast of "Insecure" (HBO)

In a move that would have been unthinkable just months ago, Warner Bros. Discovery is exploring a deal with Netflix to license at least some HBO content in North America, TheWrap has learned. It’s a move that would essentially hand content from WBD’s own Max streaming app to its biggest competitor.

If the deal is completed, it’ll be the first time HBO content has been licensed to a rival within the United States in a decade. HBO shows were previously licensed to Amazon to stream on Prime Video, but that deal was made before Prime Video became a serious competitor in the originals space.

Among the titles under discussion are “Insecure,” the critically acclaimed dramedy created by Issa Rae that ran for five seasons (ending in 2021). The deal, which could fall apart, would not give Netflix an exclusive license, meaning shows licensed to Netflix would still stream on Max.

Representatives for Warner Bros. Discovery and Netflix declined to comment.

The talks comes as Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has promised Wall Street that its streaming business will become profitable by the end of 2023 and generate $1 billion in profit by 2025.

WBD has been undergoing a major restructuring, which it expects to complete by the end of 2024. The company previously estimated that it will incur up to $5.3 billion in total restructuring charges before taxes, including up to $3.5 billion in content impairment and development write-offs. 

On May 23, Warner rolled out its Max rebrand, which combines the libraries of HBO Max and Discovery+. The service offers three pricing tiers: Max Ad-Lite for $9.99 a month or $99.99 a year; Max Ad Free, the plan most similar to the old HBO Max subscription, for $15.99 a month or $149.99 a year; and a new Max Ultimate Ad Free tier for $19.99 a month or $199.99 a year.

Additionally, the company inked a free ad-supported streaming television (FAST) deal with Roku and Tubi in January, in which the services agreed to license 2,000 hours of content and launch a series of channels to carry its movies and television shows. Warner Bros. Discovery plans to also launch its own FAST service this year, though timing on that has not yet been announced.