HBO Max and Discovery+ Merge to become ‘Max’

Jahlil Rush, Production Assistant

Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. announced that its two streaming platforms, HBO Max and Discovery+ will merge into one service known as “Max.”

Jean-Briac Perrette, the president of Warner Bros. Discovery and CEO of its global streaming and games division, said that “Max” will have a slew of a wide-ranging array of contents for consumers.

“From the biggest superheroes to real life champions; from culture-shaping dramas to taste-shaping entertainment; from fantastical realms to the realest of worlds, Max will offer an unrivaled range of choice,” Perrette said in a press release. “This new brand signals an important change from two narrower products, HBO Max and discovery+, to our broader content offering and consumer proposition.”

During the merge’s announcement, Discovery CEO David Zaslav called “Max” the streaming service to be excited for.

“Max is the one to watch, because it’s home to shows that have a supersized effect on people and culture,” Zaslav said, according to CNBC. “It’s streaming’s version of must-see TV.”

Max will also offer a pricing tier for consumers. The starting price for Max begins at $9.99 per month, or $99.99 per year. An advertisement-free option will be priced at $15.99 per month, or $149.99 per year. 

There will also be an option called “Max Ultimate Ad Free,” which has its price set at $19.99 per month, or $199.99 per year. It will allow consumers to stream on four devices at once and make 100 offline downloads monthly.

On the more technical side, Max will feature premium video playback, delivering subscribers a smoother and more cinematic at-home experience.

The company is showing straightforward signs of wanting to compete with rivals such as Netflix Inc. and The Walt Disney Co. to be crowned as winners in the streaming war. The creation of Max will allow it to better compete with rivals such as Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu — which is owned by Disney.

But news of the streaming platforms’ fusion is not a surprise to the public as Zaslav made a similar announcement back in August 2022, as The Verge reported at the time. This news came after Warner Bros. Discovery released its second quarter earnings report for the 2022 fiscal year.

Since the announcement became public, the soon-to-be-fused streaming platforms have announced a slate of upcoming content including “Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai,” an animated prequel television series set in the same universe as the 1980s pop-culture classic, and a Harry Potter television series, with author J.K. Rowling serving as an executive producer.

The streaming service will continue on the company’s attempt at creating superhero content. Max released its official first look at the series focused on the classic villain, “The Penguin,” in which actor Colin Farrell will reprise his role from director Matt Reeves’s “The Batman.”

In the financial side of streaming, Warner Bros. Discovery reported their earnings of $11 million and a loss of $2.1 million in its fourth quarter of the 2022 fiscal year. The vastly large loss was mostly due to the company’s continued restructuring charges and write-downs tied to the merger, according to its earnings report.

With a trend of millions of Americans canceling their cable every year, media companies are moving away from cable television in favor of streaming products with customizable subscriptions. 

Details on how existing subscribers will be able to migrate from HBO Max to the new streaming platform have not been released to the public.

Max is slated to make its debut on May 23.