Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav continued to defend deep cuts to the company’s animation and streaming during the company’s latest earnings call, noting that more could be on the way after absorbing a net loss of $2.8 billion in the most recent quarter.
“In our opinion, spending money recklessly for the sake of increasing secondary numbers is a profound mistake,” Zaslav said during the conference.
His comments come after a period in which Warner Bros. Discovery has aggressively cut its animation offerings, canceled movies like Batgirl, and removed shows and movies from services like HBO Max.
Zaslav defended these cuts, saying “we’ve learned what doesn’t work” and that the service is “removing content that doesn’t work”. He reiterated Warner Bros. Discovery’s stance against movies released directly on HBO Max, saying they “do next to nothing” for viewership and retention, and that WB Discovery would focus on its big franchises going forward.
Both Zaslav and WB Discovery’s CEO of streaming, JB Perette, hinted that big changes are ahead as the company continues to weather the storm of its merger. That likely includes the price of HBO Max, which has been flat for three years.. Zaslav also revealed that the new combined HBO Max and Discovery service will launch in the spring of 2023 and not the summer as planned.
Zaslav repeatedly referred to what he described as a “challenging environment”, saying that Warner Bros. has “conviction” and that “we’re pulling through”.
Zaslav himself has received enormous criticism from creatives and audiences alike for the restructuring of Warner Bros., which has led to layoffs, high-profile departures, and conflicting views about the future of its major franchises.