Warner Bros. Discovery Unveils Max


Max, the unified HBO Max and discovery+ streaming platform, is set to roll out in the U.S. on May 23 with a new tagline, “The One to Watch.”

“Max offers consumers something truly distinct and appealing,” said David Zaslav, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO, at a press event to unveil the new service yesterday. “It’s the place every member of the household can go to see exactly what they want at any given time. We have so many of the world’s most iconic and globally recognized franchises. That’s an advantage in attracting and nourishing consumers around the world. We have the largest TV library in the world. We have a number of the biggest quality makers of content that will feed and grow Max in the years ahead: Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Studios, HBO, Warner Brothers Television, our global unscripted portfolio and multiple animation studios. These studios allow us to control our own destiny, and they give us long-term business optionality. We are not pickers. We are content makers. Max is one to watch because of the one-of-a-kind storytelling from HBO Max, which drives subscriber acquisition, and the comfort viewing of discovery+, which drives subscriber retention. Holding subs is as important as adding subs, and together they pack a really powerful one-two punch. And we have two more vibrant parts about Warner Bros. business that will be key to our long-term streaming strategy going forward. We’re a global leader in sports, and we’re a global leader in news. In a few months, we’ll come back to you with details of our attack plan to use this important and differentiating live content to grow our streaming business even further. Finally, Max is the one to watch because it’s home to shows that have a supersized effect on people and culture. New episodes air weekly, and people everywhere are talking about what they saw. Its streaming’s version of must-see TV with huge cultural impact because it’s a shared must-have experience.”

JB Perrette, president and CEO of global streaming and games, discussed the new interface in greater detail, outlining the platform’s multi-generational appeal. “Streaming has reached the fun age of adolescence. The industry’s last decade has been explosive, headlined by a subscriber growth at all cost mentality and a total tsunami of content creation that’s streaming literally everywhere. With this deluge, we suddenly find ourselves in the fog of what many people have dubbed the era of peak confusion. Consumers are overloaded. So in this era of peak confusion, we’re trying to simplify and improve the experience for consumers, focusing on quality, not just quantity. Third-party data confirms what customers are experiencing: too many services and not enough that meet all their needs. Too much content. Too hard to discover and find content. Too expensive to have so many services. We will look to address these consumer challenges with Max, the one service that has the most complete breadth of stories for any taste or movie.

“The one service that defines quality and has the most iconic franchises. Over 80 percent of TV and streaming viewers watch both scripted and unscripted content, and Max will be the one that continues to set the standard across all genres of entertainment. The one service that aggregates all this content into a single, new and enhanced user experience that invites every member of the family to find and enjoy great entertainment. In this sea of streaming services, our potent combination of great value, strong user experience, superior quality with iconic franchises and unrivaled breadth makes us unique.”

Perrette stressed that kids and family will remain key to the new platform. “We all love HBO, and it’s a brand that has been built over five decades to be the edgy, groundbreaking trendsetter in entertainment for adults. But it’s not exactly where parents would most eagerly drop off their kids. And yet Warner Bros. Discovery has some of the best-known kids’ characters, animation and brands in the industry. It’s not surprising that the category has not met its true potential on HBO Max. We see this as a meaningful new engagement opportunity. Our leading kids’ brands like Cartoon Network and Boomerang, bolstered by content from DC, Wizarding World, Hanna-Barbera and Looney Tunes, used to get double-digit shares of the total 2-11 linear audience. In streaming, that has virtually disappeared, even though all the great content and franchises are still here. Max will better curate our rich history of amazing animation, seminal children’s television and blockbusters the whole family can enjoy, as well as new product features that will prioritize and enhance the kids’ user experience.”

Perrette noted that HBO, too, will retain the brand values it has long been known for. “HBO is not TV. HBO is HBO. It needs to stay that way, which is why we will privilege it in the product experience. And also not push it to the breaking point by forcing it to take on the full breadth of this new content proposition had we kept the name in the service brand. And by doing so, we’ll better elevate and showcase our unparalleled array of other content and brands that will be key to broadening the appeal of this enhanced product. Max is where consumers can finally say, Here’s a service that not only has something for everybody in my household, but something great for everybody in my household.”

Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO of HBO and Max content, then outlined key highlights of the unified offering, noting, “The Max service is a wide-ranging mosaic of content that will be unmatched in the breadth, reach and excellence of its offerings. We are unique because we have the best in category across the board, be it ratings, awards or fandom. We have the greatest collection of fan favorites from comedy giants. For pure escapism, we have the most iconic franchises in food, home, adventure and reality, all driven by engrossing characters. When it’s time for a provocative story, we have the best in documentary, paranormal horror and true crime. For the whole household, we have treasured films, timeless animation, inspirational nature and family-focused unscripted. We have remarkable international stories from around the world. Together, they create the one destination where any interest or mood or taste can be fulfilled. We know we can satisfy any craving because we have the must-have brands and franchises that people love. We’re not a giant, undifferentiated blob of programming. We don’t have to take the time to try to create signature brands and characters to identify our shows because we already have them. [We have] an average of more than 40 new titles and seasons every month.”

In the U.S., there will be three pricing tiers: ad-lite at $9.99 a month, ad-free at $15.99 a month and ultimate ad-free, delivering 4K content and other features, at $19.99 a month.