The wait is over.
Warner Bros. Discovery unveiled Max on Wednesday, its revamped streaming service that combines programming from both the original HBO Max streaming service and Discovery+.
“From the greatest superheroes to true champions; from culture-defining dramas to taste-defining entertainment; from fantastical realms to the most realistic worlds, Max offers unparalleled choice,” said JB Perrette, the president and CEO of streaming and games for Warner Bros. Discovery, in a statement. “This new brand signals a significant shift from two smaller products, HBO Max and Discovery+, to our broader content offering and consumer proposition.”
The Max launch comes a year after WarnerMedia and Discovery completed the $43 billion merger, with the combined company led by CEO David Zaslav. Part of Zaslav’s pitch to Hollywood was the creation of a streaming service that could compete with Netflix and Disney+ by combining the best of HBO’s high-brow scripted fare with Discovery’s more low-brow but profitable lifestyle and reality programming.
By removing HBO from Max’s brand name, WBD also hopes to appeal to a wider audience that has previously turned away from the streaming service because of HBO’s high reputation and higher price. To date, WBD has 96.1 million streaming subscribers on HBO, HBO Max and Discovery+. The company hasn’t broken down subscriber numbers by service, though Zaslav has said Discovery+ is profitable and has low churn.
Ahead of the launch, WBD’s chief financial officer, Gunnar Wiedenfels, said at an investor conference in March that the new streaming service would be “absolutely critical.” “For the first time, we can put all the content together,” Wiedenfels said at a Morgan Stanley investor event. “We believe this will have a positive effect on engagement, churn and subscriber acquisition.”
More to come.