HBO Max and Discovery+ are merging into the new service Max, starting on May 23.
HBO Max and Discovery+ are no more. As reported by Deadline, the streaming services will merge into Max, a comprehensive app supplying Warner Bros. movies, HBO shows, new Max originals, and the Discovery+ slate. Warner Bros. Discovery announced Max projects like the new Harry Potter series, along with an updated pricing model with plans ranging from $9.99 to $19.99 per month set to go into effect May 23.
The ad-supported tier called Max Ad Light comes in at $9.99 a month/$99 a year. Max Ad Free allows for two concurrent streams at $15.99/$149.99; Max Ultimate Ad Free supports up to four concurrent streams for $19.99/$199.99. The new model varies slightly from the current HBO Max pricing plans, which include an ad-supported option for $9.99/mo and an ad-free option at $15.99/mo.
The new pricing tiers reflect the app’s updated content library and user experience, as well as an effort to crack down on account sharing. WBD’s President & CEO of Global Streaming & Games, JB Perrette, spoke highly of Max’s improved functionality over its HBO Max predecessor.
Max will offer higher-performance video playback, more sophisticated personalization, a smoother and safer experience for children, more intuitive navigation, and a growing collection of 4K UHD titles.
“We’re confident that all these enhancements will deliver a stronger experience for our customers, which will drive more engagement, help enhance retention, and improve customer satisfaction, which in turn will help us continue to scale.”
WBD CEO David Zaslav delivered a more dramatic message at the Max announcement. “This is our time. This is our chance,” Zaslav said. “This is our rendezvous with destiny.”
Zaslav then went on to detail what that destiny will look like. Highlights from the announced projects included a Harry Potter series that will faithfully adapt J.K. Rowling’s beloved books over the course of ten years. The series had been expected to arrive on HBO Max, but the announcement today made plans for the series on the new platform official.
Max will also host a new Game of Thrones prequel, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight, a spin-off of The Big Bang Theory, a horror series set in The Conjuring universe, and many more new franchise entries.
The event also unveiled looks at projects headed to Max in the immediate future, including Matt Reeves’ The Penguin series, True Detective: Night Country, an espionage thriller called The Sympathizer, along with several others. The new branding will more clearly distinguish HBO originals from Max originals, eliminating the blurred lines drawn by HBO Max.
Max will be the digital home of James Gunn and Peter Safran’s new DCU, which is set to include several movies and shows spanning live-action, animation, and all sorts of genres. Gunn and Safran’s new vision of the DCU will not roll out until next year.
The change from HBO Max to simply Max is bigger than the three letters the service is dropping from its name. As the battle for streaming dominance continues, Warner Bros. Discovery is streamlining its forces and bolstering its power with the revamped streaming service. This summer, the company will see just how much its new content offerings and pricing model affect its subscriber numbers.