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The end of HBO Max

Three years after its launch, Max will go on without HBO.

Three years after its launch, Max will go on without HBO.

HBO will no longer be present in the commercial branding of Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming platform, effective immediately.

The rebranding of the service comes three years after the launch of HBO Max, a project led by the former owner of Warner Media, the telecommunications company AT&T. The move comes with the intent to bring the entire portfolio to the front line in the streaming wars.

The rebranding of major conglomerates

Two years after the launch, AT&T announced the spin-off of Warner Media to merge it with Discovery’s assets, retaining the majority of shares but leaving operational management in the hands of David Zaslav, former CEO of Discovery and CEO of the resulting company: Warner Bros. Discovery.

Zaslav has been one of the main drivers of the rebranding and a radical change in the company’s philosophy.

Why change the brand?

Business Insider speculates that the merged companies each likely refused to let one brand survive and the other not; if Discovery had to disappear from the commercial name, HBO had to do the same. Rebranding as simply Max would likely be a neutral solution that pleased everyone within the company.

The publication points out another reason: economics. HBO Max failed to meet its goal, which was to be the benchmark premium streaming service. With less than 100 million in its total customer base, it is one the lower end of the global direct-to-consumer business.

Further, HBO is a brand that resonates with a very specific type of audience, while other types of viewers may be interested in more general entertainment. Therefore, Max can break from HBO and offer content for a larger audience and compete with the larger platforms.

HBO will still have its own place within the portfolio.


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