According to Deadline, Warner Bros. Discovery is exploring the idea of licensing its exclusive shows to Netflix. Are we looking at the end of the streaming wars?
In the old days, prior to Netflix firing the first shot in the streaming wars by merely existing, studios would license out their content to networks and distributors for a hefty fee. "Do you want some more eyeballs for your network?" studios would say. "How about I sell you the licensing rights to Seinfeld for (insert insane amount of money here), and you can play the show for the next ten years?"
However, once studios saw how audiences were beginning to flock toward Netflix as the company expanded into original content, Hollywood decided en masse that every network had to have a streaming service. And while the idea seemed logical on paper, it's actually been a massive misfire for a host of studios, as the streaming business, by and large, has turned out to be a huge money pit.
Recently, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav spoke about how most streaming services will eventually have to consolidate to survive. Considering that Disney Plus and Hulu are set to merge by the end of the year and how Zaslav's own platform Max is a mixture of Discovery Plus and HBO Max, I think he might be on to something. And now, with news of Warner Bros. Discovery shopping around some of its exclusive content to Netflix for those lucrative licensing contracts, we might be looking at the move that precipitates the end of the streaming wars.
HBO's streaming walled garden is coming down, it seems.
In a hugely surprising move, Deadline understands that Warner Bros. Discoveryis shopping some of its HBO library titles to rival Netflix. Such a deal would mark the first time in nearly a decade that HBO shows would exist on a rival SVOD service in the U.S.
The first title that Deadline understands is set to be part of the arrangement is Issa Rae comedy Insecure, which ran for five seasons on HBO and finished in December 2021. We hear there are other titles being discussed.
According to sources, this is a financial move. We hear HBO veterans pushed back against the plan but corporate financial consideration won out.