Warner Bros Discovery will be rebranding HBO Max and will be adding content from Discovery+ with an additional plan to spice up the service. HBO is known for award-winning shows; how can we not think of Game of Thrones, Barry, Westworld, or even Peacemaker? But the truth is it has been struggling to compete with other streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus.
WarnerMedia under AT&T has been trying to catch up with making original shows and movies. This resulted in WarnerMedia going into debt. Discovery Inc took the opportunity to buy WarnerMedia from AT&T.
And when the WarnerMedia and Discovery merger happened, many of HBO Max’s projects were cancelled and used for tax write-offs to save the company some money. Not only that, but they have also licensed shows to other networks too like Westworld to Roku and Tubi. Moreover, they also sold a brand new animated series Batman: Caped Crusader to Amazon and the upcoming Dead Boy Detectives to Netflix.
For some time now, we have known that WBD wanted to create a new service to stand out from other streaming services. But before, we didn’t know the details. Now, it seems that the plan is about to roll out very soon.
HBO Max Will Now Be Called “Max”
A report from Bloomberg has revealed that WBD will announce in a few weeks that HBO Max will have additional shows coming from Discovery+. There will be no additional fees to get the new shows. WBD hopes that this will be able to compete with other rival streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon.
WBD intends to retain the current subscription plan of $10 with ads and $16 ad-free. They will be adding an additional plan that is priced at $20 which will offer more features like high-quality videos and others.
Currently, HBO Max offers 4k resolution, but the shows and movies are very limited. And for audio, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital Plus are pretty much the standard. But Dolby Atmos is again, very limited.
If we compare it to Netflix’s own list of shows which offer better HDR (Dolby Vision) and sound options (Dolby Atmos), HBO Max has a lot of catching up to do. So, we are wondering if WBD’s new subscription plan will bump up the audio options and HDR.
With this, the HBO Max will simply be renamed as “Max.” The main brand of HBO is all gone. Even though the Max will have shows from Discovery+, WBD has confirmed that Discovery+ will still continue.
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav believes that the HBO brand itself turns off potential subscribers.
Zaslav has said in the recent quarterly earnings call:
We’re excited about the fact that we’re going to take all of the Discovery content and put it together with the HBO Max content in a much better platform. But the key to this company is, as a storytelling company, we have this diversity….We have the ability to pick from all of these different baskets to build really what may be most important for us, which is a successful and profitable streaming business.
That HBO Max, whatever we call it on the launch, is a product that we take around the world and that has a real impact on how people consume content. We believe in it because we believe we have the best menu of content, the best portfolio, the best quality. And we’re curating now in a way that’s having an impact on America.
And so I think that is key to us in terms of building the long-term strength. But the other key is that we have the largest TV and motion picture library and we’re the biggest producer of quality content in the world. And so selling that to drive free cash flow and to nourish the overall segment, so that we, as a media segment, can be successful is important.
New Name, New Future for Warner Bros Discovery’s Max
Personally, while I do understand the need for a change, it is a bit of a shock to me that the HBO brand is being removed. I’ve seen the HBO brand for many years, long before the Internet was a thing.
So, seeing that HBO is not part of WBD’s future is a little heartbreaking. It is a little piece of the past being closed off in a sense.
It’s a hard but possibly necessary change. But the question is, is this the right move for Warner Bros. Discovery? I do hope so.
Maintaining the old plan is good, because it retains their current subscribers while adding more content. If WBDs plan is to jam-pack Max with as much content as they can, then this could be the right move for them.
The new $20 plan is a good sign. It does seem expensive, but it gives people options that some enthusiasts might use. It’s not a necessary feature for many, but it is something that can give Netflix and other streaming services some competition. If not, at least it could possibly level up the playing field.
What do you think of the rebranding of HBO Max to Max and the new $20 subscription plan? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
What do you make of this story? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages! And if you enjoy listening to film podcasts, why not check out our podcast, The Small Screen Podcast, wherever you get your podcasts!