This story originally appeared in our newsletter, The Stream Report. To get more stories like this in your inbox, subscribe here.
The streaming world is abuzz with merger news. The Crunchyroll/Funimation merger has been anticipated for nearly a year after AT&T sold Crunchyroll to Funimation. The more surprising news there is Funimation’s decision to give up its name in place of adopting the Crunchyroll brand.
What may impact more entertainment fans is the coming merger of HBO Max and Discovery+. That was a merger that was not as easy to predict and may have wide-ranging price impacts for Discovery+ users.
Who’s merging right now?
As highlighted, the two biggest mergers to watch are Funimation/Crunchyroll and HBO Max/Discovery+. The former has already taken place. Funimation and Crunchyroll merged their libraries into one in March, with Funimation’s library shifting over to the much-better-known Crunchyroll service. Funimation will ultimately close down shop in the coming months, but users with accounts to Funimation will have those accounts moved to Crunchyroll.
The HBO Max/Discovery+ merger should occur sometime later in 2021. That merger is a bit more dramatic, as the two streaming services don’t have any overlapping content. Instead, it’ll create a robust entertainment service with a large amount of content across a wide spectrum of interests. There’s no telling which brand name will hold out, but more likely than not, the HBO brand will be the victor in that merge (though an “HBO+” name change is certainly possible).
Higher prices are coming to both
There’s no way around this one. When you merge two services together and boost the amount of content, streaming service providers will use this as an excuse to raise prices…specifically to help them pay for the cost of that acquisition, as well.
In the case of Funimation/Crunchyroll, the price increase may be a bit delayed since both services had a similar price point. Should the price on Crunchyroll increase, it’ll likely be in the $2 to $3 per month range above the existing price, putting it around $11.99 to $12.99 per month.
On the HBO Max/Discovery+ front, those two services are a world apart in pricing. Discovery+ is cheap, with a $6.99 price point, while HBO Max is $15 per month with ads and $10 per month without. After the merge, don’t be surprised to see a price point touching $16 to $17 per month for the ad-free version and $12 to $13 for the with ads version
More mergers coming?
Could more mergers be coming down the road? Time will tell. But if history is any indication, we’re in merging season. Tough economic times create buying opportunities for bigger players, so don’t be surprised if smaller streaming services continue to get eaten up and merged into larger ones.
Sam Cook is a full-time content strategist by day, a part-time freelance content writer since 2015. In another life, he was a high school English teacher for nearly a decade. Based in sunny New Orleans, he writes long-form educational content on technology, including Insurtech, Fintech, HRtech, and content streaming. He loves whittling down complex ideas within these areas that make decisions easier for buyers. When he’s not reading books with his son Miles and playing video games with the family, you can find him immersed in his growing collection of Euro-style board games.