HBO Max Will Relaunch in May as Max for the Same Monthly Price

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The “enhanced” streaming option will still cost $16 for ad-free, but another premium plan is being added.

HBO Max as we know it is changing.

April marks one year since the merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery. Last year, the new Warner Bros. Discovery promised to introduce by summer 2023 a revamped streaming service that combines content from HBO Max and Discovery Plus, and the rebranded platform now has a name: Max.

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav announced the name Wednesday during a virtual press event, along with the tagline, “The One to Watch.” Global streaming boss J.B. Perrette said the new streaming service will roll out in the US on May 23. Viewers in Latin America will get Max this fall, with Europe, Asia and other markets to follow in 2024. 

Max will stick with HBO Max’s current price plans, at $10 per month for the ad-supported subscription and $16 monthly for ad-free with two streams, and it’ll offer a new, ad-free $20 “Ultimate” option that features four concurrent streams, 4K HDR video, Dolby Atmos audio and more downloads.

Subscription plans for the Max streaming service.

Since the current version of HBO Max includes 4K HDR, Dolby Atmos and three streams in the $16 ad-free tier, the new plan structure amounts to a $4 price hike for viewers who want higher streaming quality and the ability to watch on more than two devices at the same time. 

Discovery Plus will remain a standalone streaming option priced at $5 per month for the ad-supported plan and $7 monthly for the ad-free version. The platform houses a variety of reality shows, sports and infotainment from more than 20 networks, such as TLC, HGTV, Food Network and Animal Planet. 

HBO Max began adding Discovery Plus titles to its platform in September. Viewers are able to stream shows like Fixer Upper from Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Network empire, as well as other Discovery-branded fare, like Maine Cabin Masters and Trixie Motel. Though HBO Max is no stranger to the world of unscripted TV, the addition of niche content from Discovery’s portfolio caters to audiences with an appetite for nonfiction.

Chief Content Officer Kathleen Finch spoke about the slew of new original releases coming to Max, including reality series Barbie’s Dreamhouse Challenge, TinyToons Looniversity and Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai. The company is building out universes for The Conjuring, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter and The Big Bang Theory with a slate of new projects. More 90 Day Fiance and Magnolia series are also in the pipeline. 

In the last 12 months, Warner Bros. Discovery made significant programming changes to HBO Max under the leadership of Zaslav, a Discovery veteran. More than six dozen movies and TV shows have been canceled, licensed out or removed from the platform altogether, including scripted favorites like Westworld and reality series such as Craftopia. Some projects — such as Batgirl and Scoob! Holiday Haunt — were scrapped as a cost-cutting measure. Ahead of both streamers’ catalogs consolidating, Discovery Plus lost a handful of titles too, including House Haunters and Love in the Jungle. 

Compared with rivals Paramount and Disney, Warner Bros. Discovery is taking a different route with its two services. Paramount Plus folded Showtime content into its app and offers the combined version as a premium bundle, with standalone options still currently available. The company also rebranded Showtime’s linear cable channel as “Paramount Plus with Showtime,” which airs content from both brands. Though Disney Plus and Hulu remain separate streaming platforms, they can be bundled in three packages. Some Disney-owned titles are available to stream on both services at the same time.

Since taking the reins, Zaslav has been eyeing Netflix, Disney Plus and Amazon’s Prime Video as top competitors in the streaming business. During his 2021 keynote speech at the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Communications Conference, he described the prospect of a unified Discovery Plus-Warner offering as “complete” and “competitive with Netflix and Disney.” 

When discussing the launch of Max today, Zaslav said, “Max is the one to watch” for its navigation capabilities, content and global reach.

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