Max is the name that Warner Bros. Discovery is closing in on for its combined HBO Max-Discovery+ streaming service.
Executives at Warner Bros. Discovery are close to finalizing a new brand and platform for the upcoming launch of their streaming service, which will merge the HBO Max and Discovery+ offerings.
According to those with knowledge of the situation, the company’s lawyers are reviewing the projected name of the combined platform, “Max.”
Max is the most likely option, according to the people, who declined to be identified because the discussions are confidential because executives haven’t made up their minds yet and the name could still change. According to two of the persons, several senior executives are still debating a final name. The new service has been given the internal code name “BEAM” by Warner Bros. Discovery while a final name is being discussed, according to the people. Other names are also being investigated by lawyers.
According to the sources, the app will be similar to Disney+’s platform in that it will have distinct tiles for the brands owned by Warner Bros. and Discovery. Among the platform’s landing spots will be DC Comics, Warner Bros., HBO, and Discovery, the sources said.
A spokeswoman for Warner Bros. Discovery noted that a name was still being debated.
WarnerMedia executives reportedly wanted a different name for the combined streaming service, according to CNBC last year. Although associating HBO Max with the premium brand solidified the product’s image, some executives worried that the moniker would eventually cause users to confuse HBO with everything on the streaming service.
HBO’s branding has changed as a result of Chief Executive David Zaslav’s reduction of HBO Max original series spending. HBO still only has a small, primarily American audience, and the streaming service will provide considerably more content than HBO, such as reality TV from Discovery, CNN news documentaries, Warner Bros. blockbusters, kids’ programming, and perhaps even live sports in the future. People acquainted with Zaslav and his team’s thinking claim that they see the advantages of incorporating HBO as a sub-brand within the bigger streaming service.
In its most recent earnings call in November, Warner Bros. Discovery management stated that the integrated service will now begin in the spring of 2023. In an earnings conference call, Zaslav stated that a team has been working on getting the merged offering ready to debut as well as testing various adjustments, “in large part to solve some of the shortcomings of the existing platform.”
Zaslav mentioned recent updates to HBO Max that have already begun to roll out and reflect that work, such as the addition of Discovery content.
On the call, Zaslav stated, “These early signs support our strategic thesis that the two content offerings complement one another and, when combined, should promote better engagement, lower churn, and higher customer lifetime value.”
The people indicated that price for the merged streaming service is still up for discussion.
The unclear branding of HBO
Given HBO’s reputation, there has been discussion within Warner Bros. Discovery over whether to keep it in the name of the new streaming service. But dropping it from the name will also put an end to a slew of streaming services with the HBO name that have confused users. HBO Max came before HBO Go and HBO Now.
Warner Bros. Discovery is making reform efforts through a number of adjustments and spending reductions. The company is struggling under a mountain of debt and, like the rest of the sector, is trying to figure out how to turn a profit in the streaming sector rather than chasing subscribers while spending a lot on content. In November, Zaslav informed investors that achieving profitability would be the main goal for the company’s streaming strategy rather than increasing the number of subscribers. By 2025, the firm wants to make $1 billion from streaming.
We still have a lot of work to do and some tough choices to make, but we are very confident in the opportunity we have at hand, Zaslav said.
HBO Max and Discovery+ offer monthly, ad-free memberships for $14.99 and $6.99, respectively. Both of them provide less expensive ad-supported tiers.