Figure that it is not just HBO Max -- via its new, financially conservative owner under the Warner Bros. Discovery name. Expect some billions in TV movie production and acquisition costs to slow.
HBO Max has stopped production of its popular -- but expensive -- “WestWorld,” and is now freeing up TV and movie content on HBO Max to be licensed to third parties.
The company also wants to start up a FAST channel, similar to what Fox Corp. has with Tubi and what Paramount Global has with Pluto TV. We might also count in Comcast Corp.'s lower-profile Xumo -- a free, ad-supported service -- also potentially looking to be a major competitor.
Why? Because AVOD channels can rapidly produce some advertising cash (at least most of the time.).
Cost-focused streaming platform changes probably won't stop with just HBO Max.
Think about the money-losing operation that was The CW -- full of popular, young-skewing scripted entertainment shows. That was a network that was losing around $300 million to $400 million a year.
New owner Nexstar Media Group -- the biggest owner of U.S. TV stations -- is already transforming the network to eventually be programmed with way-cheaper non-scripted programming: News-related content, reality shows and other less glamorous TV content.
All this means we should expect TV and original production cuts -- on a wider-scale basis: That means billions in ever-increasing original content, where Netflix sits at spending around $10 billion to $12 billion a year. Others like Walt Disney, NBCUniversal, and Paramount Global are all chasing those numbers in an attempt to catch up.
What might that look like for consumers? Well, for one thing, it could mean a slowdown in releasing a full season of TV shows all at once -- something Netflix continues to do.
A return to traditional TV scheduling -- doling out TV episodes one episode/one week at a time for all wannabe Netflix platforms -- could be coming.
Think about returning hero Bob Iger to CEO at Walt Disney. Before you smile and breathe a sigh of relief for those Iger fans, think again.
A recent SEC 10K filing by the company says a “restructuring and change in business strategy, once determined, could result in impairment charges.”
Gee, wonder what that might be?