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HBO Max Is Changing Its Name To 'Max.' No, This Is Not a Joke

By Brian Richards | TV | April 12, 2023 |

By Brian Richards | TV | April 12, 2023 |


Yesterday, the New York Times published an article which indicated that today, it will be officially announced that the streaming service HBO Max will be changing its name to ‘Max.’

Yup! This is the brilliant and innovative decision-making that is coming from the offices at Warner Bros. Discovery with the goal of turning HBO Max into a major competitor against Netflix, while also achieving its level of success and brand name recognition. Despite the fact that Warner Bros. Discovery’s main idea for HBO Max involves removing the name that has decades of success and brand recognition attached to it.

The streaming service will cost roughly $16 a month — the price of HBO Max now — though there will be several price tiers, including a less expensive one with advertising, the people said.

…Warner Bros. Discovery still has a subscriber goal for its streaming division — 130 million by 2025, up from the 96.1 million now — that would vastly trail Netflix’s current total of 231 million and Disney’s 235 million subscribers across Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu. But executives now believe that the service’s profitability is the most vital benchmark.

…It is not yet clear how existing subscribers will migrate from HBO Max to the new service once it’s available. That is one of the topics that executives are expected to address on Wednesday. Discovery+ will remain a stand-alone app.

…If there is more time spent on the new service, [according to Julia Alexander, director of strategy at the research firm Parrot Analytics], that could help prevent subscribers from canceling the service when the company inevitably raises the price. And it could increase revenue from advertisers on the streaming service’s lower-priced tier.

And removing HBO from the streaming service’s name also signals an ambition to attract more subscribers.

“Dropping HBO from the name is cementing that ‘we’re not just a home for premium programming,’” Ms. Alexander said. “‘We’re the home for anything you want to watch.’”

The responses on social media to this upcoming announcement have been anything but positive, which should come as a shock to absolutely no one. There were tweets (and lots of them) that pointed out how foolish it is for Warner Bros. Discovery to believe that removing HBO from the name of their streaming service is what will guarantee even greater success. Others reiterated that Zaslav has done nothing to make things better since he started running things over at WBD, and that he should be fired, hence the #FireDavidZaslav hashtag making a return on Twitter. It was even pointed out that how Zaslav is running HBO Max seems awfully similar to how Elon Musk is running Twitter, in that they’re both acting like dumbass billionaires who are obsessed with buying something good, and doing everything possible to turn it into something bad.

Since this merger went into effect, Zaslav and his colleagues from Discovery seem convinced that Discovery Plus and its catalog of shows such as House Hunters, 1000-lb. Sisters, 90-Day Fiancé, and Moonshiners, bring just as much to the table as HBO and its catalog of shows such as Succession, House of the Dragon, The White Lotus, and The Last of Us.

As for other dumbass decisions coming from WBD when it comes to HBO Max? That list is longer than a receipt from CVS, and it includes Batgirl and Scoob!: Holiday Haunt both being shelved for tax purposes; the complete shutdown of CNN+; delaying movies that were meant to air exclusively on HBO Max, and then releasing them in theaters with little to no promotion, resulting in those movies failing horribly at the box office; announcing plans to not only make the Harry Potter books into a television series, but to continue having transphobic scat-muncher J.K. Rowling directly involved with development of more Harry Potter-related content; shows like Legendary, South Side, Gordita Chronicles, Love Life, Minx, and Raised by Wolves being canceled and completely removed from the HBO Max library altogether; and upcoming projects also being canceled before cameras even began rolling, such as Batman: Caped Crusader, Demimonde, Justice League Dark, and the reboot of Constantine. The removal of shows from the streaming service’s library, including shows like the recently canceled Westworld, is what has largely contributed to the recent decision by the Writers Guild of America to authorize the decision to go on strike, as other streaming services have begun following in HBO Max’s footsteps by canceling shows and removing them completely from the libraries of their streaming services, thereby preventing most writers on those canceled shows from receiving any residual payments for their work. The writers of the WGA choosing to strike isn’t an easy or pleasant decision for any of them to make, but it’s something that will need to be done in order to ensure that they receive the financial compensation they deserve, and that they can all continue doing what they love as a career. That can’t happen if studios like WBD care more about their own finances than they do about the people whose hard work makes it possible for their studios to exist in the first place.

Then there’s been the recent talk about how several Democratic representatives who have asked the Justice Department to look into the merger between Warner Bros. and Discovery, and how it has “…enabled Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) to adopt potentially anticompetitive practices that reduce consumer choice and harm workers in affected labor markets,” according to a letter penned by those same representatives. Whether there will be an actual investigation into the studio’s practices remains to be seen.

For anyone who has ever wondered what it must have been like back in the 1980s when Coca-Cola decided to f-ck things up completely by changing their brand and their formula to New Coke, Warner Bros. Discovery is now giving us a front-row seat to the terrible, horrible, no-good, very f-cking bad decision that is their own inability to recognize the value and importance of their own brand. Only time will tell whether or not someone will come along with their own version of the Infinity Gauntlet that will snap some of these bad decisions out of existence, and restore things at Warner Bros. back to something resembling normal.

Now excuse me as I wrap this up by making a lot of you (myself included) feel very old.