HBO Max and Discovery+ to Merge as Streaming Platform ‘Max’: Report

HBO Max and Discovery+’s merged streaming service will be revealed this week. As per The New York Times, the platform will reportedly be called ‘Max’ and offer a combination of content from both services. The news comes about eight months After Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav announced his plans for the merged platform, claiming that it will first release in the US, before heading to other regions. Max will reportedly debut sometime in May or June and will cost roughly $16 (about Rs. 1,313) per month, on par with the existing ad-free HBO Max experience. However, multiple tiers are to be expected, including a cheaper plan with ads.

The combined service Max will bring together classic HBO series such as success and The Sopranosalong with Discovery’s catalog such as Dr. Pimple Popper and Fixer Upper reports states. “Success of the new service is crucial for Warner Bros. discoverywhich Mr. Zaslav formed last April with the blockbuster merger of Warner Media and Discovery,” it continues. “He sold shareholders on the deal in part by arguing that the combined company could have a killer app.”

Of course, seeing such different content right next to each other could be a bit weird, though we Indians have gotten used to such crossovers with Disney+ Hotstar’s formats. That said, going by an earlier report, after the US launch this American summer, WBD will focus on launches within Latin America in autumn 2023 and Europe in early 2024.

The presentation at the time mentioned seven markets within the Asia-Pacific region, but no countries were named. While Discovery+ has been around in India as a standalone platform for a while now, all HBO content was made available through Disney+ Hotstar. However, as Mar 31all HBO series and movies—including The Last of Us, game of thrones, Euphoriaand more — were removed from the platform.

As for whether this new platform Max comes to India eventually, only time will tell. Hopefully, Warner Bros. Discovery will reveal the region details and launch windows for the same when Max is officially announced. Currently, HBO Max have a deal with amazon prime video in India for some content, but not the entire catalogue.

Prices and tiers are yet to be revealed but CEO Zaslav previously suggested that the plans will range between ‘ad-free, ad-lite, and ad-only’ options, the last of which will be the cheapest option. Reports from then also mentioned the inclusion of on-demand and live broadcasts, alongside multi-tier sports content. There are no details for what this means for existing HBO Max and Discovery+ subscribers either; they could get automatically migrated onto Max, or be forced to get a new subscription.

The idea for Max was born out of the $43 billion (about Rs. 3,53,010 crore) WarnerMedia and Discovery merger from last yearwhich created further controversy by shelving multiple projects, Films such as the Leslie Grace-led bat girl, Wonder Twins, and Scoob! Holiday Haunts were canceled as tax write-offs. Even JJ Abrams’ animated Batman series, Batman: The Caped Crusader was axed then, but got picked up by Amazon Prime Video, with an order for at least two seasons.

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