The date of the big HBO Max and Discovery Plus merger moved up.
According to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, the merger of HBO Max and Discovery Plus is doing so well, that the anticipated launch date for the new service will be pushed back from summer 2023 to spring 2023.
The two services are incredibly different from one another, from their user interface to their backend to their content. HBO Max likely has a subscription advantage over Discovery Plus because it had about 76.8 million users in April before the acquisition, while the combined services now have 94.9 million subscribers. Although Zaslav’s team believes the two services are aimed at very different markets, he always had the intention of merging them.
Zaslav hopes that the combined app will result in a considerable rise in both subscriptions and ad revenue. The intention is to invest even more money in the new content that will be available through the new service. Click here to read more.
Sling TV now costs $40 a month, the fourth price hike in five years.
Prepare for another increase in your monthly bill if you pay Dish to stream live TV channels online; the company’s Sling TV streaming service is hiking pricing by $5 per month for the fourth time in five years. The monthly cost of Sling Orange and Sling Blue pay TV packages has increased from $35 to $40, and the total cost of the package including both Orange and Blue are $55.
Gary Schanman, the president of Sling TV, blamed the recent price hike on the rising cost of programs in an official blog post but didn’t go into details. However, we would bet on Disney being involved in some way. During contract discussions in October, Sling TV unexpectedly lost The Disney Channel, ESPN, ABC, and other Disney channels for two days. Dish claimed Disney wanted “nearly a billion-dollar increase.”
New customers will be required to pay the higher rate going forward; existing users will see a rise in prices on the first bill they receive after December 3rd. Click here to read more.
Netflix’s new cheaper plan with ads doesn’t work on Apple TV at launch.
Although Netflix’s more affordable Basic with Ads plan is now available in several countries, it isn’t compatible with one well-known streaming service, the Apple TV, so you won’t be able to use it right now. Thankfully, this is merely a short-term issue that will soon be resolved.
Netflix has a support page up that confirms this. Without elaborating much, it merely states that “Basic with Ads isn’t supported on Apple TV.” Since there are many other AVOD (ad-based video on demand) providers available on tvOS and Basic with Ads is compatible with iPhones and iPads, it doesn’t appear that this is the consequence of a larger dispute between Apple and Netflix. Apple TV compatibility will soon be available, according to a Netflix spokesperson.
According to Netflix’s website, the new ad tier will be available on Amazon Fire TV devices, Android, Chromecast with Google TV, iOS, many gaming consoles, and smart TVs. Roku and any Xbox consoles aren’t specifically mentioned in the support document, but it could just be a misunderstanding. Click here to read more.
Comcast’s big rival to Roku and the smart TV is called Xumo.
The streaming device ecosystem that Comcast and Charter believe will challenge Roku has been given a name: Xumo. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Xumo Play will now be known as the free ad-supported streaming TV service that Comcast acquired in 2020.
For its launch, Comcast is changing the name of its Flex 4K set-top box to Xumo Stream Box and its line of XClass TVs to Xumo TVs. Comcast, Charter, Walmart, and “other distributors” will sell these renamed gadgets by the end of 2023. As part of the agreement, which was first announced in April, Charter will contribute $900 million over a number of years.
There will be some fierce rivals for Xumo. According to Roku, one in every three TVs sold in the US and Canada last year were Roku TVs, and these gadgets are just getting better. Additionally, Google last month launched its enhanced Chromecast with Google TV HD, and Amazon recently unveiled a new line-up of 4K Fire TVs with improved picture quality. Click here to read more.
Paramount Plus sees a hike in its future.
The company sees “opportunities to increase the pricing on Paramount Plus,” according to Paramount Chief Financial Officer Naveen Chopra, who stated on a Wednesday earnings call that we’ll see it “do that in the future.” Currently, Paramount Plus’s commercial-supported edition costs $4.99 per month (or $49.99 annually), while its commercial-free Premium plan costs $9.99 per month (or $99.99 annually).
The service won’t be the only one if it decides to raise its pricing in the US. Apple TV Plus recently raised its monthly fee from $4.99 to $6.99, while Hulu hiked the cost of both its ad-supported and ad-free plans by going from $6.99 to $7.99 and $12.99 to $14.99, respectively.
Pluto TV, Paramount’s free streaming service, also experienced some growth. The number of monthly active users of the streaming service increased to 72 million worldwide, and viewing hours increased by “double-digits.” As the first free, ad-supported service to “represent a big enough part of TV viewing,” according to Paramount, Pluto TV also made history by being included in Nielsen’s monthly TV viewing Gauge report. Click here to read more.