The HBO Max logo. WBD Sports The HBO Max logo.

In what doesn’t appear to be a positive sign for its efforts to retain the NBA, Warner Bros. Discovery appears to be targeting even more cost cutting in the near future.

Per Bloomberg, WBD CEO David Zaslav is demanding more cost-cutting to reach financial goals, with even more layoffs remaining a possibility.

Max, WBD’s streaming service, could face hundreds of millions of dollars more in slashed budgets, and another increase in subscription prices also seems likely. The cheapest tier of Max costs $15.99 per month.

WBD issued a brief statement, not denying the possibility of more cost cutting and saying it “is focused on long-term growth.”

“The company is focused on the long-term growth of the business overall, including Max, which has been a priority across WBD to expand the original content offerings for our streaming audiences including news originals from CNN, March Madness and NBA Finals from sports, local language content from international, and a new distribution deal with A24.”

That statement is curious, given the NBA Finals are part of Disney’s NBA package. WBD airs one Conference Finals series annually to cap off its NBA coverage for the season.

WBD faces a reckoning with its NBA package. In April, reports surfaced claiming that NBC was ready to outbid WBD for its NBA package and was ready to pay as much as $2.5 billion. WBD is currently paying $1.2 billion for the package, though it (along with Disney) retains matching rights for its current package.

A good way to cut costs is to slash ten figures annually off of expenditures on one property. But losing the NBA would be a huge blow for WBD and its TNT Sports division going forward, which could hurt more than it helps long-term.


About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.