HBO Max moves to Max next month with new features, new plan
Say goodbye to HBO Max and hello to Max.
WarnerMedia and Discovery completed their merger in April 2022, and with that came the promise to introduce a revamped streaming service by summer 2023. Warner Bros. Discovery unveiled it as Max, a renowned platform that combines content from HBO Max And Discovery More.
Company CEO David Zaslav announced the name last week at a virtual press event, with the tagline “The One to Watch.” Global streaming boss JB Perrette says the new streaming service will roll out in the US on May 23. Viewers in Latin America will get Max this fall, with Europe, Asia and other markets following in 2024.
Max will stick to HBO Max’s current pricing plans, at $10 per month for ad-supported subscription and $16 per month for ad-free with two streams, and it will offer a new $20 “Ultimate” option. ad-free that includes four simultaneous streams, 4K HDR video, Dolby Atmos audio and more downloads.
Since the current version of HBO Max includes 4K HDR, Dolby Atmos, and three streams in the $16 ad-free tier, the new plan structure equates to a $4 price hike for viewers who want higher quality streaming. streaming and the ability to watch on more than two devices at the same time.
Discovery Plus will remain a standalone streaming option priced at $5 per month for the ad-supported plan and $7 per month for the ad-free version. The platform hosts a variety of reality, sports, and infotainment shows from more than 20 networks, such as TLC, HGTV, Food Network, and Animal Planet.
HBO Max began adding Discovery Plus titles to its platform in September. Viewers can stream shows like Chip’s Fixer Upper and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network Empire, as well as other Discovery-branded fare, like Maine Cabin Masters and Trixie Motel. While HBO Max is no stranger to the world of unscripted television, the addition of niche content from Discovery’s portfolio caters to audiences with an appetite for non-fiction.
Chief Content Officer Kathleen Finch spoke about the slew of new original releases coming to Max, including Barbie’s Dreamhouse Challenge reality series, TinyToons Looniversity, and Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai. The company is building universes for The Conjuring, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and The Big Bang Theory with a slate of new projects. Other 90 Day Fiance and Magnolia series are also in the works.
Over the past 12 months, Warner Bros. Discovery has made significant changes to HBO Max’s lineup under the direction of Discovery veteran Zaslav. More than six dozen movies and TV shows have been cancelled, licensed or removed from the platform, including scripted favorites like Westworld and reality series such as Craftopia. Some projects, such as Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt – have been removed as a cost saving measure. Prior to the consolidation of the two streamers’ catalogs, Discovery Plus also lost a handful of titles, including House Haunters and Love in the Jungle.
Compared to rivals Paramount and Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery is taking a different path with its two services. Paramount Plus has integrated Showtime content into its app and offers the combo version as a premium package, with standalone options still available. The company also renamed Showtime’s linear cable channel to “Paramount Plus with Showtime”, which airs content from both brands. Although Disney Plus and Hulu remain separate streaming platforms, they can be grouped into three packages. Select Disney-owned titles are available to stream on both services at the same time.
Since taking the reins, Zaslav considers Netflix, Disney Plus and Amazon’s Prime Video to be the main competitors in the streaming business. During his 2021 keynote at the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Communications conference, he described the prospect of a unified Discovery Plus-Warner offering as “comprehensive” and “competitive with Netflix and Disney.”
When discussing Max’s launch today, Zaslav said, “Max is the one to watch” for its browsing capabilities, content and global reach.
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