The news outlets claim Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) is in talks with Netflix to bring a number of your favorite TV series, such as the Issa Rae-starring Insecure, to the world's best streaming service. Deadline further suggests veteran HBO staffers pushed back against the talks between WBD and Netflix, but were shot down over the finances involved in such a deal.
Per the duo's reports, Netflix wouldn't become the only place where audiences could stream Insecure and other WBD-developed shows. Titles would still be made available for viewing on Max, WBD's new streaming platform that replaced HBO Max in late May, meaning Netflix wouldn't have exclusive rights to air any HBO TV series. However, it would represent another big shift in the streaming landscape, especially where WBD's stacked library of films and TV shows is concerned.
In January, HBO's TV adaptation of The Last of Us was made available to stream on Prime Video In France. A few months later, Amazon also announced it had made a licensing deal with WBD to bring a few of the latter's forthcoming animated Batman series to its streaming service.
Those WBD-Amazon deals came before and after WBD reached similar agreements with Roku and Tubi, which became the new homes of other WBD-owned TV shows, such as Raised by Wolves, Westworld and The Nevers. Those licensing agreements followed WBD's purging of said series from HBO Max.
Clearly, then, WBD is open to licensing more of its content on other platforms. And with good reason, too, in the eyes of WBD CEO David Zaslav. The entertainment behemoth has been attempting to cut costs across various divisions in the past 12 months, which included the divisive cancelation of its near-complete Batgirl movie. WBD has been trying to balance its finances further through the aforementioned licensing deals with streamers it previously considered to be major Max rivals.
It's unclear which other HBO TV shows will join Netflix's back catalog (or even if the report has any truth to it). However, with beloved and critically-acclaimed series including The Sopranos, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Sex In The City being made available on terrestrial and cable networks, such as A&E, TBS and Spike TV, it's possible they could become fixtures on Netflix in the near future. If they do, expect our best Netflix shows list to receive a sizeable overhaul.
A new battle emerges in the streaming wars
WBD isn't the only company looking to balance the books where its streaming content is concerned.
Disney followed in WBD's footsteps in April with the revelation it was pulling some of its own original TV series, including Willow, from its main streaming services in Disney Plus and Hulu. More removals are said to be on the way in the coming months as Disney also looks to rein in its spending habits. The merging of Disney Plus and Hulu into a single super streamer by the end of 2023, plus the dismissal of 7,000 employees, are two moves that will reportedly help Disney cut costs across the board.
Elsewhere, Netflix and Paramount Plus have joined Max in introducing new ad-based tiers, with the aim of attracting new users by way of cheaper subscription plans. Prime Video, which rolled out an ad-supported tier in India recently, is also expected to release its new cheaper tier plan worldwide in the months ahead.
The world's streaming giants, then, are making a play to save and make money by any means necessary. If that means licensing content out on another service, so be it. If it means offering cheaper subscriptions to customers, then that's what will happen too. It's unclear which plan will succeed, but WBD and company are determined to restock their cash reserves however they can. We might have entered a new phase of the streaming wars, but the aim of its biggest platforms remains the same: make as much money as possible before the bubble implodes.
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As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.
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