Warner Bros. Discovery Officially Announces Max, New Streaming Service That Will Combine HBO Max And Discovery+

The streaming wars have been shaken up once again thanks to the folks at Warner Bros. Discovery. As was promised by CEO David Zaslav last year, HBO Max and Discovery+ will merge into one streaming service later this year, and the company has finally unveiled the name of that "new" service: It will officially be called Max, and it will launch in May. Though, rather crucially, users will still have the option to subscribe to Discovery+ as a standalone service. As for HBO Max? That will soon be gone in favor of the new, shiny service.

WBD announced the service and revealed the first details during a press conference. The slogan for the service is "the one to watch." Zaslav explained that "any member of the household can watch anything they want, at any given time." The executive also touted the breadth of movies and TV shows, from reality offerings to the DC Universe, as well as "Harry Potter" and Hanna-Barbera. The idea is very much, per Zaslav, to create a one-stop-shop for every sort of on-screen entertainment one could hope for.

What's curious is that the company decided to drop the HBO branding from the name. This, despite the fact that HBO is arguably one of the stranger brands in the Warner Bros. Discovery library. Be that as it may, they clearly wanted the new service to have its own identity. And so, we are getting Max.

How much will Max cost?

So how much will a Max subscription cost? The prices are the same as HBO Max, but there's a new subscription tier. There will be an ad-supported plan at $9.99 per month, ad-free at $15.99 per month, and "Ultimate Ad-Free" at $19.99 per month. But each tier has certain features.

  • Max Ad-Lite | $9.99/month or $99.99/year 2 concurrent streams, 1080p resolution, no offline downloads, 5.1 surround sound quality
  • Max Ad Free | $15.99/month or $149.99/year 2 concurrent streams, 1080 resolution, 30 offline downloads, 5.1 surround sound quality
  • Max Ultimate Ad Free | $19.99/month or $199.99/year 4 concurrent streams, up to 4K UHD resolution, 100 offline downloads, Dolby Atmos sound quality

Existing HBO Max subscribers will have access to Max at the same price as their HBO Max subscription and can head over here to find out more. Additionally, HBO Max subscribers will still have access to their current plan features for a minimum of six months following launch. HBO Max subscribers' profiles, settings, watch history, "Continue Watching," and "My List" items will also migrate to Max so they can pick up streaming right where they left off.

Another big change

This puts a punctuation mark on an incredibly tumultuous time for Warner Bros. When HBO Max first launched right in the heart of the pandemic in 2020, it was through WarnerMedia under the AT&T corporate umbrella. However, AT&T decided they hated being in the media business and sold WarnerMedia to Discovery mere years after completing a wildly expensive acquisition of Time Warner. Warner Bros. Discovery emerged and, under the direction of Zaslav, things have changed dramatically, with extreme cost-cutting measures, waves of job cuts, and a much larger focus on franchises to anchor the company.

Zaslav's big move is to try to relaunch a streaming service to the masses that, in theory, can bring the best of both HBO Max and Discovery+ to subscribers. The problem is that the streaming marketplace is absolutely crowded right now, with Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video, Hulu, Peacock, Paramount+, Apple TV+, and others vying for attention. After three years of building up brand recognition and subscribers, WBD is once again asking people to get on board with something new. Regardless of price point, flashy shows, or whatever this new service has to offer, it's going to face an uphill battle.

Max is set to arrive on May 23, 2023.