HBO Max and Discovery+’s merged streaming platform to be unveiled this week, called ‘Max’
HBO Max and Discovery+’s merged streaming service will be unveiled this week. According to The New York Times, the platform will be called “Max” and will offer a combination of content from both services. The news comes nearly eight months after the CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery’s David Zaslav has announced his plans for the merged platform, saying it will be released in the US first, before heading to other regions. Max would debut in May or June and cost around $16 (around Rs 1,313) per month, on par with the existing ad-free HBO Max experience. However, several tiers are to be expected, including a cheaper plan with ads.
The combined Max service will bring together classic HBO series such as Succession and The Sopranos, as well as Discovery’s catalog such as Dr. Pimple Popper and Fixer Upper, the report says. “The success of the new service is critical to Warner Bros. Discovery, which Mr. Zaslav formed last April with the successful merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery,” he continues. “He sold shareholders on the deal in part by arguing that the merged company could have a killer app.”
Of course, seeing such different content next to each other might be a little weird, although we Indians are used to such crossovers with Disney+ Hotstar’s format. That said, according to a previous report, after the US launch this US summer, WBD will focus on Latin America launches in fall 2023 and Europe in early 2024.
The presentation at the time mentioned seven markets in the Asia-Pacific region, but no countries were named. While Discovery+ has existed in India as a standalone platform for some time now, all HBO content has been made available through Disney+ Hotstar. However, starting March 31, all HBO series and movies – including The Last of Us, Game of Thrones, Euphoria, etc. – have been removed from the platform.
As to whether this new Max platform will eventually make its way to India, only time will tell. Hopefully Warner Bros. Discovery will reveal region details and launch the same windows when Max is officially announced. Currently, HBO Max has an agreement with Amazon Prime Video in India for certain content, but not for the entire catalog.
Pricing and tiers have yet to be revealed, but CEO Zaslav has previously suggested the plans will range between ‘ad-free, ad-lite and ad-only’ options, with the latter being the cheapest option. . Reports at the time also mentioned the inclusion of on-demand and live broadcasts, as well as tiered sports content. There are also no details on what this means for existing HBO Max and Discovery+ subscribers; they could be automatically migrated to Max or be forced to get a new subscription.
Max’s idea was born out of last year’s $43 billion (roughly Rs. 3,53,010 crore) merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery, which created further controversy by shelving several projects. Films such as Leslie Grace-led bat girl, Wonder Twins and Scoob! Holiday Haunt has been canceled as tax deductions. Even JJ Abrams animation Batman series, Batman: The Caped Crusader was then axed, but was picked up by Amazon Prime Video, with an order for at least two seasons.
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