This Hollywood exec expects larger costs for streaming

Gunnar Wiedenfels, the chief monetary officer for Warner Bros. Discovery, believes you’re not paying sufficient on your favourite streaming service.

Talking Thursday at Citi’s 2023 Communications, Media & Leisure Convention in Scottsdale, Ariz., Wiedenfels stated streaming companies have been priced to to get subscribers on the expense of profitability, describing the strategy as a “land grab.”

“There’s no doubt that these products are priced way too low,” he stated.

Wiedenfels didn’t say whether or not the revamped Warner Bros. Discovery streaming service, which can mix HBO Max and Discovery +, will ask for larger charges from shoppers when it rolls out later this yr. Present plans for HBO Max begin at $9.99 a month.

However he indicated that it is going to be a extra sturdy providing that would help a better value.

“We will with the combined product bring something to the market that I have no doubt is going to be the best streaming product in the marketplace and we’re not priced at that level right now in the U.S. more so internationally,” Wiedenfels stated. “A lot of the initial push when HBO Max was rolled out internationally was strive for the largest number of subscribers, not necessarily value. So there’s a lot of opportunity, I think, as deals come up to adjust pricing on the positive side.”

Wiedenfels famous that quite a few streaming companies have raised subscription costs over the past two years and extra will comply with.

“I think there is a building consensus that you know this phase of dumping pricing is over,” he stated.

Wiedenfels additionally stated Warner Bros. Discovery’s cost-cutting measures, the speak of Hollywood in latest months, are finished. The corporate, to cut back a $50 billion debt, has laid off workers and purged content material from HBO Max to save cash.

The measures included shelving a $90-million direct-to-streaming “Batgirl” film and eradicating “Westworld,” an acclaimed HBO collection, from HBO Max so as to save on royalties. CNN has additionally been pressured to cut back prices with employees reductions and ending the acquisition of movies and collection from outdoors producers.

Wiedenfels stated the corporate’s austerity measures had been obligatory after the gold rush to create extra content material to compete with Netflix. He famous how different firms will comply with.

“We shaved off a lot of the excess last year, and I think that’s something that everyone else in the industry is going to go through,” Wiedenfels stated. “We’re coming from an irrational time of overspending with very limited focus on return on investment.”

Wiedenfels stated HBO Max is seeing much less “churn” — the turnover of streaming clients — and better engagement, even whereas pulling again on advertising and marketing prices. However he acknowledged that the brand new service utilizing content material from throughout the the Warner Bros. Discovery portfolio will probably be superior to its present providing.

“We’re going to come out with a great product from a consumer experience perspective and that’s frankly the biggest holdback,” Wiedenfels stated.