The time has finally come for Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) to reveal details about its highly anticipated streaming service, which combines HBO Max and Discovery+ content. During a press event today, the company announced the name, launch date, price, new features and upcoming content slate.
The new streamer is called Max and is rolling out on May 23 to subscribers in the United States. It will launch in Latin America next and then in Europe, Asia-Pacific (APAC) and other markets in 2024.
You’ll notice in the picture above that the logo is a bright blue color to reflect the WBD brand. Max also has a new tagline, “One to watch.”
Fortunately, the pricing remains the same for HBO Max subscribers, as Max will cost $9.99 per month for the ad-supported tier and $15.99 per month for the ad-free plan.
There will also be a new subscription option for $19.99 per month. The plan, dubbed “Max Ultimate Free,” will offer 4K HDR video quality, the ability to stream on four devices simultaneously and 100 offline downloads.
It’s possible — at least in our opinion — that WBD launched the plan to be in better competition with Netflix, which has a $19.99/month premium plan with Ultra HD video quality.
As WBD tries to boost its revenue, the company is likely banking on enticing subscribers who are willing to pay more for these premium features. The company hinted at a pricier subscription in its Q3 2022 earnings call.
As previously reported, Discovery+ will remain a standalone streaming service in the U.S., so Discovery+ subscribers don’t have to switch to a higher-priced subscription if they don’t want to. Discovery+ is still $4.99/month for ads and $6.99/month for no ads.
The company also announced a wave of new features and updates coming to Max that aim to improve the user experience.
In terms of content, Max subscribers will get access to thousands of titles, from scripted HBO Max series like “Succession” and “Euphoria” to unscripted Discovery+ shows like “90 Day Fiancé” and “Fixer Upper,” among many others.
WBD also announced new original TV programming coming to the service:
- The Penguin: Batman spinoff series featuring Colin Farrell as the notorious villain.
- The Big Bang Theory project (unnamed): a new comedy series based on the popular IP.
- The Conjuring project (unnamed): a drama series based on the films in New Line Cinema’s “The Conjuring” universe.
- True Detective: Night Country: spinoff series starring Jodie Foster and Kali Reis as lead detectives.
- How to Be a Bookie: TV series starring comedian Sebastian Maniscalco.
- SmartLess: On the Road: TV series about actors Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes going on tour for their podcast, “SmartLess.”
- Fixer Upper: The Hotel: new series featuring Chip and Joanna Gaines who will renovate a historic building in downtown Waco.
- Love & Translation: TLC relationship series that has three American men trying to connect with 12 international women who don’t speak English.
- And more.
The company previously confirmed to be working on new titles for The Lord of the Rings franchise, a prequel series for Stephen King’s “It” and a Sherlock Holmes TV universe, among others. There’ll also be second seasons of popular HBO Max shows like “House of the Dragon,” “The Last of Us” and “The White Lotus.”
WBD also officially confirmed today that a Harry Potter Max Original series is coming to the streaming service.
On April 7, four members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) petitioning an investigation into the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, suggesting potential anti-competitive behavior.
Democratic representatives Elizabeth Warren, David Cicilline, Joaquin Castro and Pramila Jayapal claim that the merged company “enabled it to harm workers and heighten barriers to entry in the media and entertainment industry,” according to the letter.
The $43 billion deal between WarnerMedia and Discovery officially closed in April 2022. Since then, the company has implemented various cost-cutting measures in order to reduce its hefty debt load. This included the hasty shutdown of CNN+, the removal of titles on HBO Max as well as many layoffs. According to the lawmakers, about 850 layoffs occurred at CNN, CNN+ and the WBD ad sales division.
WBD reported its fourth-quarter results in February, which showed a net loss of $2.1 billion, including $217 million from its streaming segment. WBD earned $11 billion in revenue. HBO Max and Discovery+ have yet to turn a profit.
The April 2023 letter comes less than two years after nearly 30 members of Congress sent a letter to the DOJ regarding the same issue.
In December 2021, the lawmakers warned the federal executive agency that the merger “raises significant antitrust concerns” and “threatens to enhance the market power of the combined firm and substantially lessen competition in the media and entertainment industry, harming both consumers and American workers,” according to the 2021 letter.