Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD -9.94%) has had a challenging 2022, so much so that the media company's stock is down 57% year to date. And while many businesses have seen their share prices dip this year, Warner Bros. Discovery has had a much bigger fall compared to rivals Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), which is down about 50%, and Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS), which down roughly 40% year to date.

Despite Warner Bros. Discovery's relative weakness in the market, there's reason to believe now may be a smart time to buy its stock. Let's break it down.

Six months into a two-year restructuring process

Warner Bros. Discovery was formed from the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery that closed in April 2022. Six months on, the company has experienced a significant restructuring, which is all a part of CEO David Zaslav's plan to reduce costs by at least $3 billion over two years. Much of that strategy has played out in the form of job cuts and the axing of movies and shows.

And while such actions have led to an outcry among some (the shutting down of Batgirl stirred a tsunami of criticism online), Zaslav has made it clear he believes it's an approach that will benefit the company in the long run.

"We are fundamentally rethinking and reimagining how this organization is structured and we are empowering our business unit leadership to transform their organizations with an owner's mindset and a view on quality and accountability," said Zaslav during the company's third-quarter 2022 earnings call. "We're making real progress and we're driving toward the endgame."

Merging streaming services and raising prices

A key aspect of Zaslav's "endgame" is combining Discovery+ and HBO Max, which is scheduled to happen in the spring of 2023. The yet-to-be-named service will feature content from both platforms, and is expected to mimic Warner Bros. Discovery's existing offerings with two tiers -- ad-supported and ad-free. As Chief Financial Officer Gunnar Wiedenfels explained it, the prices of those plans will "probably move north."

As things stand, Discovery+ is $4.99 a month with ads, or $6.99 without ads. Ad-supported HBO Max starts at $9.99 a month, while ad-free is $14.99. For context, Netflix has a $6.99 per month ad-tier, and a $19.99 premium offering. Walt Disney's Disney+ starts at $7.99 a month, while the Disney Bundle is $19.99.

During the Q3 call, Jean-Briac Perrette, the President and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery Global Streaming and Interactive Entertainment, noted HBO Max has not changed its pricing structure since launching in the spring of 2020. "[It'll] have been 3 years since pricing has moved," said Perrette, "which we think is an opportunity, particularly in this environment."

Perrette also suggested increased streaming prices should help the company increase its average revenue per user (ARPU) globally. "[W]hen we look internationally, our wholesale and retail ARPUs are meaningfully lower than the market leaders," said Perrette, who suggested the company has "initiatives" planned to help drive sign-ups in overseas markets.

A FAST offering is also on the way

Along with its ad-supported and premium services, Warner Bros. Discovery has outlined plans for a free ad-supported TV (FAST) offering. There is no release date as yet, but as Zaslav describes it, it would be a complimentary product that takes advantage of Warner Bros. Discovery's extensive back-catalog, rather than an alternative to its SVOD packages.

"[There's] a huge amount of content that's not even on ... [HBO Max] that's sitting with us that hasn't been put to monetize in the marketplace," Zaslav explained. "[W]e have the ability on the fast side to build a service without buying content."

All the right signs

For investors looking at Warner Bros. Discovery as a longer-term streaming stock to buy, the company's strategies show promise. A unified, premium streaming platform that's priced more in line with competitors is certainly a step in the right direction -- particularly if Warner Bros. Discovery can drive an uptick in ARPU. And leveraging a library of movies and shows it already owns for a whole new FAST operation makes good business sense.

There are, however, some wrinkles for these plans that dampen their promise. For one, Warner Bros. Discovery has seen a dip in advertising demand, which Zaslav characterizes as an effect of "the macro-economic downturn." With some financial experts predicting the U.S. will experience a recession within the next year, discretionary products such as streaming will probably face headwinds for a while.

But despite what challenges may lie ahead for Warner Bros. Discovery, it has spent the last six months reshaping its business to be leaner and more competitive in the future. For investors, those are good signs its share price could also move north soon enough.