HBO Max Is Rebranding Into a New Streaming Service

Warner Bros. Discovery is moving forward with its long-rumored rebrand of HBO Max into simply "Max." The streaming service now has a shorter, more universal name to reflect its wider content offerings. The change was announced on Wednesday but will not truly take effect until May 23.

"This is a real moment for us... This is our time. This is our chance, and everything is possible," said WBD CEO David Zaslav in a press event on the company's Burbank lot. "I feel like, for our company, this is our rendezvous with destiny." Zaslav also noted the auspicious timing following the discovery of Warner Bros. and Discovery Inc. as well as the 100th anniversary of Warner Bros. Itself. He reflected on 2022 as "a year of coming together, a year of restructuring, and now off we go, all together to build Warner Bros. Discovery into the next century."

Many fans have railed against the merging of the streaming services HBO Max and Discovery+ into one package, and fear that this "Max" rebrand signals the beginning of that process. Fans fear it will draw resources away from scripted content in favor of cheaper and sometimes more profitable reality programming. WBD executive J.B. Perrette seemed to answer these concerns directly, saying that bringing these services together would give users one less app to worry about "in a sea of streaming services."

"In this era of peak confusion, we're trying to simplify and improve the experience for consumers," he said, according to a report by Deadline. After initially intending to combine HBO Max and Discovery+, WBD claimed last month that it would not do so, but mostly just to keep the cost of Discovery+ down. The company found that unscripted content viewers were not interested in paying a higher price even if it meant a combined service would have prestige TV and a deep catalog of movies. However, that doesn't mean unscripted content won't make its way over to Max.

Of course, the streamer has other incentives to distance itself from the "HBO" half of its name. To most TV fans, HBO has a connotation of mature and graphic content, which some analysts have speculated has made the service a hard sell for families. HBO Max has been successful in spite of that, but social media commenters seem to fear that the people in charge haven't realized why. Many found HBO Max to be the best service for movies in particular, and fear any change that will detract from that part of the service.