4 MINUTE READ | April 14, 2023
Introducing Max, the Newest Streaming Service from Warner Bros. Discovery
One year after the $43 billion merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery, the newly formed media conglomerate announced this week that HBO Max, the flagship streaming platform best known for premium TV shows like The Last of Us and Succession, will relaunch in late May as “Max,” featuring an enhanced streaming experience and a programming slate that combines the vast content libraries of HBO Max’s and Discovery’s reality and unscripted TV shows.
With a promise to deliver “unparalleled quality content for everyone in the household,” WarnerBros. Discovery (WBD) has ambitious plans for Max to take on rivals Disney and Netflix in the months to come. The arrival of Max comes at a pivotal time for the CTV and streaming industry as watch time with streaming services continues to climb, according to the latest reports, yet studios and streaming services face increased cost pressures and competition amid continued economic uncertainty.
Max will be “the one to watch,” according to its new tagline, as it becomes the new streaming destination for Max and HBO originals, the DC Universe, Warner Bros. films, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and a host of kid's content, alongside unscripted TV programming across food, lifestyle, home, reality, and documentaries from brands including HGTV, Discovery Channel, TLC, Food Network, and more. In the announcement, WarnerBros. Discovery touted that Max will see an average of 40 new titles and seasons every month on the platform. According to The Information, this will also include live sports and news, though more details on those plans will be announced in the coming months.
“In this era of peak confusion, we’re trying to simplify and improve the experience for consumers,” said JB Perrette, president and CEO of global streaming and games at WarnerBros. Discovery, at the announcement event. “Max will offer an unrivaled range of choice,” with the hopes that it will attract more subscribers and stand out amid a “sea of streaming services.”
By the Numbers: WarnerBros. Discovery topped 96.1 million global subscribers across its streaming services in 2022, with HBO Max accounting for less than 1.5 percent of TV viewing in the U.S., according to Nielsen, on par with Peacock and Tubi but far behind Netflix, Disney, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.
Bloomberg reported that Warner Bros. Discovery management believes that the HBO name turned off a large portion of the population and hopes Max will draw in more subscribers by offering something for everyone. The rebranding is the latest in a series of strategic shifts for the new media conglomerate, which includes plans to produce more content based on popular franchises, streamline product offerings, and more under new leadership. Max will also be the second rebrand of the HBO streaming service in three years.
WarnerBros. Discovery said the technology infrastructure underpinning Max has been dramatically improved in an effort to encourage viewers to spend more time on the app. The Information reported that 75 percent of HBO Max viewing was via its home screen, while the majority of viewing on Discovery+ occurs only after users have browsed through different areas of the app. The new service will be offered at a similar price point as HBO Max, with subscription prices ranging from $16 to $20/month without ads and $10/month with ads. Max also touts several new features, including better playback, personalization, and a simplified navigation experience.
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“For advertisers, Max represents a unique opportunity for increased diversification at scale, enabling access to new, brand-safe titles in a premium streaming environment,” said Natalee Geldert, head of brand media at PMG. “As the tagline suggests, Max will be the one to watch. While it remains to be seen how Max stacks up against streaming juggernauts like Disney and Netflix, the combined content offering of HBO Max and Discovery titles could easily rival the breadth of Peacock and Hulu alongside other streaming services with similar ad offerings and content libraries.”
Posted by: Abby Long
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