Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) laid out its plans to revamp its flagship streaming service in a presentation this morning. This comes after months of speculation from the press, and one year after Warner Media and Discovery, Inc. merged into a consolidated company.
Here’s everything that’s changing with HBO Max:
HBO Max is now just “Max.”
WBD CEO David Zaslav specified that the company is looking to make its streaming service “the one to watch” and with that comes a name change. By dropping the “HBO” from their name, they can resonate with anyone in the family and around the world.
HBO will continue to operate as a cable channel and there will be an HBO hub on the Max app that features shows like House of the Dragon and Succession. The company specified that HBO “has not and will not be changing course at all,” despite the name change for the streaming service.
Shows and movies from Discovery+ will also be available to stream on Max, even if Discovery+ remains its own standalone service, too (for now).
That means you’ll be able to watch scripted series like The White Lotus alongside reality programs like 90 Day Fiancé in a single app without having to subscribe to two different streaming services.
They announced that The Penguin, which takes place in Matt Reeves’ Batman universe, has started production. They shared an early look at the series, which looks a bit like Batman meets The Sopranos.
Other highlighted shows included Downey’s Dream Cars, Barbie's Dreamhouse Challenge, True Detective: Night Country, and Smartless on the Road which is adapted from the popular podcast. As for animation, there's an anime based on Ricky and Morty, an animated prequel series to Gremlins, and a reboot of Tiny Toon Adventures.
They shared that Max will continue to be the exclusive streaming home for Warner Bros theatrical releases, although the release windows will vary. Shazam! Fury of the Gods will be available to stream on Max on May 23rd with big movies like Barbie and The Flash available to stream after their run in theaters.
To close out their presentation they announced a brand-new Game of Thrones universe-set series and confirmed the previously reported Harry Potter live-action series that will become a Max original.
Zaslav also mentioned that further details on how live sports and news will incorporate with Max will be specified in the next couple of months.
The Look and Feel of the App
Gone is the purple color scheme associated with HBO Max. The new streaming service features shades of blue.
The new Max app will use machine learning to offer personalized recommendations to each user. There’s an option to save shows and movies to watch later, and an updated user interface that’s designed to increase user engagement and discovery of new movies and shows.The new app is engineered to be 20-30% faster than its previous version, depending on the device you’re using.
The membership tiers remain relatively similar to their pervious iteration on HBO Max with some slight tweaks. They promise that the “Max Ad-Lite” plan continues to offer one of the lightest ad loads in streaming.
Here’s how the pricing compares to its previous iteration:
- Max Ad-Lite will be $9.99/month or $99.99/year and includes two concurrent streams, 1080p HD resolution, and 5.1 surround sound quality. It does not include offline downloads.
- Max Ad-Free will be $15.99/month or $149.99/year and includes two concurrent streams, 1080p HD resolution, and 5.1 surround sound quality. It includes up to 30 offline downloads per month.
- Max Ultimate Ad-Free will be $19.99/month or $199.99/month and includes four concurrent streams, up to 4K UHD resolution, and Dolby Atmos sound quality. This plan includes up to 100 offline downloads.
For the first time, PayPal will be offered as a payment method.
A Campaign Blitz
Get ready to start seeing a whole bunch of advertisements for Max. They plan to launch their biggest ad campaign ever starting on Thursday, April 13th.
When Does it Launch?
HBO Max will officially covert to May, 23, 2023. HBO Max subscribers will automatically convert to the rebranded service. Discovery+ subscribers will remain unaffected.
What do you think about these changes? Will you be subscribing to Max? Let us know in the comment section below!