The rebranding of HBO Max to Max

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The rebranding of HBO Max to Max has been confirmed by Warner Bros Discovery.

Warner Bros Discovery has officially announced that it will be rebranding its streaming service by removing the “HBO” from its name, which has long been anticipated. The new name for the streaming service will simply be Max.

The rebranded streaming service Max, which will combine programming from HBO Max and Discovery, is set to launch on May 23 as confirmed by Warner Bros Discovery. The announcement was made at a press event held at Stage 14 on its Burbank lot.

David Zaslav, the CEO of Warner Bros Discovery, expressed his excitement during a press event, saying that the company’s rebranding of HBO Max to Max is a significant moment for them. He added that he feels like it’s their “rendezvous with destiny” and that everything is possible for them at this point.

The merger between Warner Media and Discovery, valued at $43 billion, was finalized over a year ago. Additionally, 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of Warner Bros’ founding.

During the press event, CEO David Zaslav emphasized the significance of the moment for the company, expressing his optimism about the rebranded streaming service and its potential. The merger between Warner Media and Discovery was completed over a year ago, and 2023 marks the 100th anniversary of Warner Bros, which was highlighted in an opening video and Zaslav’s remarks. He referred to 2022 as a year of coming together and restructuring, and looked forward to building Warner Bros. Discovery into the next century.

JB Perrette, who serves as the President & CEO of Global Streaming & Games at Warner Bros Discovery, explained that the objective of merging content from both Discovery and Warner Bros into a single streaming service is to stand out in the crowded streaming market. He emphasized the need to simplify and improve the consumer experience during a time of overwhelming choices.

Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav emphasized the importance of retaining subscribers, not just adding new ones. The company reports a combined subscriber number for HBO linear, HBO Max, and Discovery+, which reached 96.1 million in 2022. In the streaming landscape, churn, or the number of subscribers who cancel their service, has become a significant challenge for major media companies. Unlike their previous linear networks that were tied to pay-TV bundles with long-term contracts, customers can now easily cancel their subscriptions.

It was previously announced by WBD that they would merge two streaming services into one, but they later changed their plans and decided to continue offering Discovery+ as a separate streaming service. The reason for this decision was because some devoted fans of Discovery+’s unscripted content were not willing to pay more for an upgraded subscription.

The streaming event on Wednesday occurred over a year after the merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery, which was valued at $43 billion and primarily focused on streaming. HBO Max was launched in 2020 by WarnerMedia when it was under the ownership of AT&T, and after encountering numerous obstacles, it was able to launch. The telecom corporation spun off the entertainment company into the newly merged entity while still holding a significant interest.

During the AT&T period, the focus on the “HBO” in “HBO Max” was an essential part of the corporate strategy to enter the streaming market, particularly because of HBO’s existing subscriber base in the US. During the launch plans for HBO Max, executives believed that Game of Thrones, the record-breaking show, was the crown jewel of the company. Research indicated that the HBO name was the most popular among viewers, and there was no serious consideration given to other names. However, the association with the legacy HBO network posed an early obstacle in subscriber growth as the communication of how to activate a streaming account to linear viewers was complicated. The launch of HBO Max in May 2020 was also disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

David Zaslav, the CEO of WBD, and his management team decided that the name “HBO” in HBO Max gave the impression that the service was too exclusive and highbrow compared to competitors like Netflix and Disney+. They believed that the name did not reflect the wide range of content on the platform, which includes both high-end programming like Succession and popular reality shows like Naked and Afraid and 90 Day FiancĂ©.

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