October 20, 2023

HBO Max to Max rebrand shortly.

Trend Analysis
Szymon Karbowski
HBO Max to Max rebrand shortly.

Max will replace HBO Max in 22 European countries in spring 2024. After a few months, the platform will also be launched in Belgium and France. The change was announced at MIPCOM in Cannes by Gerhard Zeiler, head of international affairs for Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), and Leah Hooper Rosa, vice-president of WBD and head of streaming for the group's EMEA region.

In addition to HBO productions, the new Max platform will offer Warner Bros. Pictures, Discovery Library and DC World productions. The Paris Summer Olympics, Grand Slam tennis tournaments and cycling's Grand Tours will also be available on Max (sports fans will be in for a treat thanks to Eurosport content). The platform will be rebranded in countries including Poland, Portugal and Spain. The old name of the streaming platform will remain the same in the Netherlands and Flanders, because there is another broadcaster in operation there, which is called Omroep Max.

At the end of May this year, the Max platform replaced HBO Max in the US, offering documentaries and Discovery+ reality programmes in addition to standard content such as movies and series. A basic monthly package costs $9.99 and an annual package costs $99.99. In the basic package, content cannot be downloaded to internal storage devices, but it can be viewed on two devices at a resolution of 1080p. The more expensive HD package without commercials costs $15.99 or $149.99 per year and allows subscribers to download up to 30 titles per month. The most expensive package, including 4K, Dolby Amos and the ability to download 100 tracks, costs $19.99/month or $199.99/year. The Max will be launched in Latin America at the beginning of 2024.

The wide range of content available on the Max platform and its aggregation in one place is expected to attract viewers looking for a variety of production genres, extend viewing time and, of course, increase the profitability of the platform. According to Hooper Rosa, director of WBD, streaming is a natural extension of distribution for Warner Bros. Discovery. In contrast, Gerhard Zeiler, head of international affairs at WBD, insisted that while "streaming is the future" of the business he represents, "the role of linear TV is also very important and will not be abandoned". He added that "the great era of over-delivery of content is over and there needs to be a more rational approach to streaming across the industry".

I wonder how the platform will fare after the rebrand, given that it lost 1.8 million subscribers in August? In spite of this, WBD's main objective is to increase its reach and to achieve a balance in its sales between third parties and line customers and OTT. And the savings to come from synergies and cost-cutting measures are expected to be as much as $5 billion. I also like that Zeiler finally addressed the issue of linearity in his speech, confirming that the business and streaming are "two sides of the same coin" and that all decisions at WBD regarding programming or marketing investment are made jointly by the linear and streaming teams.

#SzymonKarbowski #StreamVX #HBOMax #Max #MIPCOM #WarnerBros.Discovery

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