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Why Max Dropped the HBO Name (And Why This Could Be Good For HBO)

After much speculation and discussion over the past few weeks, Warner Bros. Discovery has announced its massive, rebranded streaming service will bring HBO Max and Discovery+ into one home. As has been widely assumed, the service will simply be called Maxand it will launch at three different prices starting in May. Thus, ushering in another new moment in the ongoing streaming wars. Essentially, WBD is pivoting away from the HBO brand as the anchor for its flagship streaming service, a decision that has spurred a lot of conversation.

On the one hand, HBO is associated with high-end TV, since the early hits of the golden age like “The Sopranos”, as well as “Game of Thrones” and more recently “The Last of Us”. This list could go on for a long time. Instead, CEO David Zaslav is leaning towards a new name for a new era. But some believe it’s silly to drop HBO from the title, given its long association with quality. However, JB Perrette, WBD’s president and chief executive officer of streaming and gaming, made a rather compelling counterpoint during the company’s Max launch event.

“HBO is not TV. HBO is HBO. It needs to stay that way, that’s why we will prioritize it in the product experience and also not push it to breaking point by forcing it to continue. receive the full text of this new Bill.”

That’s a really good point. HBO came under more pressure when HBO Max launched, with branding confusion emerging for HBO Max Originals like “FBoy Island” and HBO shows like the critically-heralded “Succession.” Now, HBO can revert to being HBO as part of Max rather than as the anchor of the whole experience.

HBO’s burden is eased

One could certainly question the decision to use the “Max” name, which in itself is a bit unappealing, in the same way that Peacock was a bit odd to NBCUniversal’s home streamer. But without HBO, Max is all that remains. Sure, they might have found out about the Warner Bros. name, which has 100 years of quality and image attached to it, maybe with Warner Bros.+ or something like that, but it’s been a battle. chat another time. In large part, this decision has to do with not bringing everything from the Warner Bros. Discovery expands into the HBO box, which is a lot like a square peg/round hole situation.

Discovery offers hundreds of real and non-recipe offerings, such as “90 Day Fiance” and “Flip or Flop”. The Max event even included the announcement of several new shows in this arena, including “Fixer Upper: The Hotel”. Shows like that don’t exactly match HBO new spin-off of “Game of Thrones” made, but they have a huge audience and they’re under the umbrella of WBD. So, that way, it makes perfect sense to remove HBO from the name that relies on it as a mainstay in the service. Industry analyst Matthew Belloni has a pretty good assessment of the matter. recent episode of his podcast “The Town” marks the one-year anniversary of the WarnerMedia/Discovery contract.

“One bigger stop for all your favorites in one place is a particularly compelling offer considering the HBO brand […] has been great for a certain level of customers. It’s not good for others to consider it not for them. As long as that service is called HBO Max, people won’t be able to become subscribers if they don’t like HBO content. [The name change] Maybe that will help.”

HBO and more

Indeed, relying on HBO makes sense for certain audiences, but “Dragon House” and “Perry Mason” may not appeal to everyone. And Max seems to be aimed entirely at everyone, with a new tagline that reads “a must watch for every mood and every moment.” The list of content channels really speaks for itself, with the service serving as the home of HBO Originals, Warner Bros. movies, Max Originals, the DC Universe, “Harry Potter,” a service. Expanded content offering for kids, HGTV, Food Network, Discovery Channel, TLC, ID, etc.

This change not only allows WBD to build a broader brand identity for its service while trying to compete with the likes of Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video and others in the streaming space. , but also allows HBO to focus on just doing what HBO does. High-end cable networks no longer have to shoulder the entire future of a major media company. Instead, they can be a prestigious component of the future. Casey Bloys, President and CEO, HBO and Max Content, had this to say in a statement:

“Max Services is a diverse collection of content that will be unmatched in terms of breadth, reach and excellence of services. We are unique because we have the best in the market. all categories across the board by any measure — be it ratings, awards, fandom. We know we can satisfy any craving because we have brands that people love. Max, they’ll find what they want, when they want it.”

Warner Bros.’ big branding gamble. Discovery

Things may have been a little easier in some ways for HBO that has decoupled from larger corporate strategy, but they are more difficult than ever for Zaslav and Warner Bros. Discovery. Rebranding like this at a time when many consumers are tired of the multitude of streaming options out there is a risk. And, not for nothing, but the company’s stock fell about 6% in the hours immediately following Max’s announcement. Wall Street is taking a “wait and see” approach here.

That’s right, WBD was born, with announcement of the huge “Harry Potter” series, the trailer for “The Penguin”, the return of “True Detective”, the new spin-off of “Big Bang Theory”, etc. Heck, they even announced a reality show titled “The Challenge” Barbie’s Dream House” is positioned as a tie-in with the upcoming “Barbie” movie. You can’t accuse them of leaving anything on the table – they’re leaning towards brands they have big rights to use.

As it stands, WBD has just over 96 million subscribers between its various services. To help ease its mountain of debt (at $49.5 billion as of February this year) and to really be a long-term player in the streaming space, they’re going to need more than that. HBO will certainly be a big part of the equation, but it’s no longer the biggest part of the equation. While we need to see how this all changes in the coming months, it could prove to be the best thing for HBO in the long run.

Overall, whether that’s right for Max is the biggest of the big lingering questions.

Read this next: The Best Movies of 2022

Post Why Max Dropped the HBO Name (And Why This Could Be Good For HBO) appeared first on /Movie.

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