Max Will Be Available in Bundle With Mega Sports App, David Zaslav Says

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO confirms that joint venture app with Fox and Disney will access non-sports content

Jodie Foster in the "True Detective: Night Country" finale (HBO)

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav confirmed Friday that the new joint venture sports app in development with Fox and Disney will include the ability to access non-sports content.

Zaslav said the while joint venture with the company’s erstwhile rivals revealed earlier this month will be “focused on sports,” customers will also be able to bundle the new app with Max, which streams content from HBO, Discovery Channel, DC, Cartoon Network, Food Network, TCM and other properties, along with a trove of content from the vast Warner library.

“So we see this new joint venture as another potential driver of incremental growth for our business going forward,” Zaslav said during the company’s fourth-quarter conference call.

Individuals familiar with the plans have told TheWrap that non-sports content from Disney and Fox will also be available.

The service is due to launch in the fall, with each of the three media giants owning equal one-third shares of the company, which will have its own management team. The three companies plan to each license their sports content from linear sports networks including ESPN, ESPN+, ESPN2, ESPNU, SECN, ACCN, ESPNEWS, FOX, FS1, FS2, BTN, TNT, TBS, truTV, and the ABC network to the joint venture on a non-exclusive basis.

There is at least one bump in the road that the companies will have to get past, however. Live sports streamer Fubo on Tuesday filed suit against the three entertainment giants, accusing the companies to anticompetitive practices to block its business. The antitrust suit accused the companies of stealing Fubo’s “playbook” for bundled sports streaming.

The fate of the suit is still unclear. The federal government is also expected to look closely at the deal over concerns it could harm consumers, sports leagues and rivals, which could pose a bigger threat to project.

Zaslav told analysts the app will reach new audiences that are now fumbling around trying to find the sports they want to watch.

“I think everything is driven by the consumer experience and the consumer experience right now is cluttered. It’s awkward. It’s somewhat confusing,” he said, acknowledging that right now viewers have to Google where to watch the sports they are interested in. “But remodeling just makes an awful lot of sense.”

He noted that Verizon and some other platforms are offering ways to access streaming products more easily. “The Verizon example is a good example,” Zaslav said. “Netflix is a great product. You put it together with Max and you can get those together, it provides a very meaningful experience for people.”

He said “meaningful bundling is going to happen in one of two ways,” either through intermediaries like cable companies or platforms like Roku. “I think it’s very helpful to all of us in the content business, that these channel stores morphed into places that have just provided a simpler and easier and less anxious experience for people to find the content that they want, and have it be simple and fluid.”

But he added, “Or we could do it ourselves. And I’ve always advocated that we should do it ourselves.”

Zaslav said the platform is aimed at younger people who are not subscribing to cable. “We’re able to go after those that we’re missing,” he said. “We think it’s very pro consumer.”

Shares of Warner Bros. Discovery tumbled 8.6% in premarket trading, after closing at $9.56 Thursday, down 18% since the start of the year.


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