Discovery set to acquire WarnerMedia and combine Discovery+ with HBO Max (Score 23)

Discovery is finalizing a deal to acquire WarnerMedia from AT&T for $43m. The new company will be called Warner Bros. Discovery, and current Discovery CEO David Zaslav will serve as president and CEO. This move is expected to lead to the new company combining its two streaming services, Discovery+ with HBO Max. This will create one of the largest streaming services as Discovery+ currently has 22m subscribers and HBO Max has 74m. The new company will be able to produce more original content, improve programming options and offer more choices. The deal will reportedly close in early Q2. 

According to Pathmatics, Discovery+ earned 1.4b impressions YTD through Facebook ads (50%), desktop digital ads (23%), Instagram ads (21%), mobile display ads (4%) and desktop video ads (1%). It placed the majority (89%) of these ads site direct onto sites such as facebook.com, instagram.com, geniuskitchen.com, foodnetwork.com and hgtv.com. It placed the remainder (11%) indirectly through Yahoo DSP onto sites such as yahoo.com, finance.yahoo.com, realtor.com, football.fantasysports.yahoo.com and fandom.com. It spent around $10m on digital display ads YTD, just 10% of the $102.5m spent in this channel during the same time period of 2021. Full-year spend skyrocketed from $4.1m in 2020 to $186.6m in 2021. 

Per iSpot, Discovery+ spent about $6.6m on national TV ads YTD, about 56% of the $14.5m spent in this channel during the same time period of 2021. Full-year spend jumped from $4.3m in 2020 to $46.9m in 2021. This year, it placed ads during "Good Morning America," "General Hospital," "ABC World News Tonight," "Today" and "The Bachelor." 

Pathmatics reports HBO Max earned 14.5b impressions YTD through Facebook ads (66%), Instagram ads (30%), desktop display ads (3%), desktop video ads (1%) and Twitter ads (1%). It placed the majority (99%) of these ads site direct onto sites such as facebook.com, instagram.com, youtube.com, imbd.com and twitter.com. It placed the remainder (1%) indirectly through Display & Video 360 onto sites such as yahoo.com, ebay.com, amazon.com, imdd.com and fandom.com. It spent approximately $124.4m on digital display ads YTD, a 10% decrease from $137.6m spent in this channel during the same time period of 2021. Full-year spend jumped from $251.5m in 2020 to $588.6m in 2021. 

iSpot estimates HBO Max spent $50.6m on national TV ads YTD during programming such as "2022 Winter Olympics," "NFL Football," "College Football," "NBA Basketball" and "College Basketball. It spent around $10.7m in this channel during the same time period of 2021. Full-year spend increased from $17.7m in 2020 to $44.4m in 2021. 

Magellan claims HBO Max placed 662 podcast ads and Discovery+ placed 520 podcast ads over the last 365 days.

Sellers-- Discovery+ and HBO Max have massive advertising budgets that they spend on digital display and national TV ads. Discovery+'s catalog appeals to an older audience, such as Gen-Xers, while HBO Max is more popular among millennials and Gen-Zers. Kantar reports that Discovery and WarnerMedia invest in OOH, print, radio and local broadcast TV ads. Reach out to offer ad space because the new company will likely start promoting a bundle deal later this year. 

Agency & martech readers-- This acquisition could lead to agency reviews, so be prepared to reach out once the dust settles. Discovery takes care of most work in-house. WarnerMedia, which works with media AOR Hearts & Science, was already planning on consolidating its agency relationships before the acquisition.