Shortly after its massive merger, Warner Bros Discovery suggested that it would combine its HBO Max and Discovery+ streaming services. These platforms won’t merge; Discovery+ will continue doing its own thing. But HBO Max is getting an overhaul, and it will go by the name “Max” starting May 23rd.
The goal is to make HBO Max (or Max, I guess) a one-stop shop for a variety of content, including reality shows, dramas, children’s cartoons, and anything else you might desire. CEO David Zaslav even points to sports and live channels as a future addition. (Max will have individual tabs or hubs for certain networks, so you can specifically look at content from Discovery, TLC, and so on.)
In this situation, dropping the “HBO” from “Max” makes a lot of sense. WBD wants to fold all kinds of shows and movies (including properties from Discovery) into the Max service. But it wants to do this without watering down the HBO brand—when someone says “HBO,” shows like Dr. Pimple Popper or CoComelon aren’t exactly the first thing that comes to mind.
And while Max will have plenty of family-friendly content, it will also carry some hardcore titles (such as the existing HBO Max originals). WBD announced several upcoming shows during a press event, including The Penguin, a Gremlins cartoon, and an It prequel called Welcome to Derry.
Pricing for Max will remain mostly unchanged—the ad-supported plan is $10 a month (or $100 a year) and can stream video to two devices at a time. The ad-free plan, which got its first price hike earlier this year, remains at $16 a month ($150 a year) and adds offline downloads to the mix (though you can only download 30 items at a time).
But Max will also introduce an Ultimate Ad-Free plan that costs $20 a month ($200 a year). This subscription is required for 4K video and Dolby Atmos audio, and it allows you to stream on up to four devices simultaneously. Ultimate Ad-Free also lets you download up to 100 shows or movies at a time, a clear upgrade from the basic ad-free subscription. (Current HBO Max subscribers will retain whatever perks they had for six months after the rebrand. So, users who watch 4K content have some time to save up for this expensive Ultimate plan.)
While I’m not a huge fan of the name “Max,” I’m curious to see how this streaming service will compete with Hulu, Netflix, and Disney+. But, like many other subscribers, I worry that the best parts of HBO Max (specifically the movie selection) may fall by the wayside.
Source: Warner Bros Discovery