There are few names within entertainment that are as synonymous with high quality content as HBO. However, it’s had a turbulent time trying to establish itself as a streaming service, going through multiple rebrands, from HBO On Demand to HBO Now, HBO Go and HBO Max. Finally, the most recent HBO Max rebrand sees the service drop the “HBO” brand name entirely in favor of simply “Max.”
Key Takeaways: HBO Max Rebranding
- HBO Max is rebranding to “Max” as it shifts its focus away from only prestige television to a broader range of content, including reality TV and cinematic releases.
- The change applies only to the streaming service, not the HBO network itself, which will retain its name and remain as one part of the broader Max ecosystem.
- Existing HBO Max subscribers will have their subscription automatically transferred to Max and will see an updated design and app starting on May 23 in the U.S., fall of 2023 in Latin America, and early 2024 in Asia and Europe.
The HBO network — which for a long time prided itself with the slogan “it’s not TV, it’s HBO” — cemented itself in the ’90s and 2000s as the home of prestige television, which was a reputation it managed to carry into the streaming age. While the streaming service is changing its name, the network itself will retain the name HBO. What does all this mean for viewers? Let’s find out.
Yes, HBO Max (the streaming service), is being rebranded to just Max to reflect the broader range of content that the service now offers.
HBO Max will change its name to just Max, starting in May 2023 for U.S. viewers and later in 2023 and 2024 for the rest of the world.
HBO Max (the streaming service) is rebranding to simply Max, but the HBO network will keep the same name.
HBO Max Rebrand Overview
In 2022, AT&T (the then-owner of Warner Media, HBO’s parent company) offered to divest from the media subsidiary and have it merge with Discovery Inc., allowing it to form a new corporation: Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD).
Soon after the deal went through, CEO of Discovery Streaming JB Perette publicly talked about eventually merging the streaming service Discovery+ with HBO Max, but not what form that would take.
When WBD CEO David Zaslav announced the new name, “Max,” at a press event in April, many fans and subscribers expressed displeasure at the dumping of the HBO name.
However, if you’re already an HBO Max subscriber, not a whole lot will change when the rebrand happens. You’ll see an updated streaming app with a new Max logo, and the content library will expand to include titles from both HBO Max and Discovery.
When Will the Max Rebrand Happen?
The change will happen for U.S. customers on May 23, 2023, while Latin American viewers can expect the switch to happen sometime in the fall of 2023. Those in European and Asian markets won’t see the change happen until early- to mid-2024.
Why Is It Happening?
According to HBO CEO Casey Bloys, the desire to rebrand the streaming service comes mainly from the fact that, since the merger with Discovery, HBO Max carries a lot of content that has nothing to do with the HBO brand and its association with prestige television.
The name HBO will still have a place within the app, according to WBD president JB Perrette, but just as one network or channel among many on the Max streaming service.
The pricing of Max will largely remain the same as the old HBO Max pricing plans, with one exception. There will be an additional tier beyond the standard HBO Max Ad-lite and HBO Max Ad-free plans (priced at $9.99 per month and $15.99 per month respectively) that’s called “Ultimate.”
This new Ultimate plan will cost $20 per month and ups the number of concurrent streams to four (compared to three on the cheaper plans), enables 4K HDR streaming with support for Dolby Atmos audio, and lets you download up to 100 movies and episodes for offline watching.
Currently, the two existing plans already offer 4K HDR for select titles, and this will remain the case for up to six months after the new launch, after which point you’ll have to upgrade to Ultimate to keep watching in 4K.
TV Shows & Movies on Max
The rebrand also comes with an expansion of the service’s content library. Traditional HBO content like original TV shows and movies will remain on the service, so popular HBO originals like Game of Thrones will still be available for streaming on the updated Max app.
However, they will be joined by content from other Warner Bros. properties, most notably Discovery+, but also other channels like HGTV, Food Network and TLC, as well as big media properties like The Big Bang Theory, DC Comics and Harry Potter.
That said, since the merger, HBO has been actively removing content that they own all the rights to in order to cut costs and save money on residuals — meaning the shows and movies become completely unavailable to watch online (at least legally). Examples include critically acclaimed shows like Westworld and Raised By Wolves.
That’s all the details to share about the coming HBO Max rebrand. While it may seem like a confusing business decision on the surface given the recognition and popularity of the HBO name, not much is actually changing for viewers. That said, if you want to know which countries Max is available, you can head to our Max Unblocked piece.
What do you think of the HBO Max rebrand? Do you think it’s a good way to communicate a more diverse library of content, or do you think the company is shooting itself in the foot by abandoning such a popular and cherished brand name? Let us know in the comments below, and as always, thank you for reading.