Given HBO’s prestige, you might think that Warner Bros. Discovery would want to keep the premium channel’s name attached to its new streaming platform.
As you’ll read below, however, the media company has its reasons for transforming HBO Max into a platform simply titled Max.
Max has been in the works for as long as Warner Bros. Discovery has been a corporate entity. Longer, even. In March 2022, weeks before WarnerMedia spun off from AT&T to merge with Discovery, execs were planning one streaming platform with content from both HBO Max and Discovery+, as Variety reported at the time.
And on Tuesday, May 23, that vision will become a reality with the launch of Max. Here are the need-to-know details about the new platform.
Why is HBO Max becoming Max?
HBO Max is rebranding as Max to emphasize its breadth of content, as JB Perrette, Warner Bros. Discovery’s head of streaming, explained during a presentation in April. “Max is where consumers can finally say, ‘Here’s a service that not only has something for everybody in my household, but something great for everybody in my household,’” Perrette said, per CNBC.
Plus, taking the “HBO” off the “Max” makes it clear that the streaming platform isn’t just geared toward adults. “We all love HBO,” Perrette said. “It’s a brand that’s been built over five decades to be the edgy, ground-breaking trend-setter for entertainment for adults. But it’s not exactly where parents would most easily drop off their kids. Not surprisingly, the category hasn’t met its true potential on HBO Max.”
The rebranding is always a way of “preserving and protecting” HBO as “the most iconic trailblazing brand in entertainment,” Perrette said at the presentation, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
“HBO is not TV. HBO is HBO,” he reasoned. “It needs to stay that way, which is why we will privilege it in the product experience and also not push it to the breaking point by forcing it to take on the full breadth of this new content proposition.”
What will be available?
The new platform “brings all the iconic programming that you love about HBO Max together with an even deeper library of crave-worthy genres like true crime, reality, food, comedy, and more — all for the same great price,” Max says on its landing page.
Specifically, Max will have all of HBO Max’s offerings — including Max Originals and TV series and movies from HBO, Warner Bros., the DC Universe, Cartoon Network, Looney Tunes, Adult Swim, and the Turner library — as well as favorites from the Discovery family — including content from Discovery Channel, TLC, HGTV, Food Network, ID, and Magnolia Network.
If I already subscribe to HBO Max, will I get Max?
Max says that all HBO Max subscribers will get access to the new platform. If you have HBO Max installed on your device, the app will either update to Max automatically or prompt you to download the new app after Tuesday’s changeover.
If you get HBO through your cable or satellite TV provider, you may still get access to Max at no extra cost. Max has already revealed some of the providers through which the streaming platform will be available — AT&T, Cox, Cricket, DIRECTV, Dish, Hulu, Optimum, Prime Video Channels, Spectrum, Verizon, Xfinity, and YouTube TV — and notes that a full list of providers is coming soon.
Will the price remain the same?
Max is keeping the two subscription plans HBO Max currently offers. One is an ad-supported plan for $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year, which allows streaming in high-definition on up to two devices at once. The other is an ad-free plan for $15.99 per month or $149.99 per year, which allows the same type of streaming and gives subscribers up to 30 offline downloads.
In addition, Max will also offer an Ultimate Ad-Free plan for $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year, which allows streaming in 4K on up to four devices at once and gives subscribers up to 100 offline downloads.
Current HBO Max subscribers will be able to access their current plan features for at least six months after the changeover, and their profiles, settings, viewing history, “Continue Watching,” and “My List” selections will also transfer over to Max, according to Variety.
Will Discovery+ still be its own platform?
Discovery+ “will continue as a stand-alone service,” according to the streaming platform’s website. (Discovery+ subscribers, however, will not get free access to Max like HBO Max subscribers will.)
Originally, Warner Bros. Discovery planned to shut down Discovery+ once the combined platform launched, but by this February, the company abandoned those plans. “Our strategy is: ‘No [subscription] left behind,’” WBD CEO David Zaslav said on a fourth-quarter earnings call that month, per Deadline. “We have profitable subscribers that are very happy with the product offering of Discovery+ Plus. Why would we shut that off?”
Zaslav did note, however, that “many of those people are going to want to move up to a bigger product, more robust with a bigger offering.”