It’s been a whirlwind ride for the Streaming Wars over the past few years, to say the very least. In 2020, HBO Max was born after a rebranding from both the HBO Go and HBO Now platforms, and as everyone knows, the world is a very different place now. With economic upheaval ongoing and a restructuring into Warner Bros Discovery, the service has now absorbed even more content and is now reportedly poised for another shift.
Surely, the idea of thinking up a new name wasn’t an enjoyable task, but what will apparently be rolling out as a rebranding is a head scratcher.
Word rolled out this week (without a definitive confirmation so far) that HBO Max and Discovery will join streaming forces and be known simply as “Max.” This will be a place where people can not only stream HBO prestige series and ratings juggernauts like House of the Dragon and Succession but also [deep breath] MILF Manor and Dr. Pimple Popper. It’s a bit wild to think about, and “Max” makes me think of Cinemax as well, which does at least suggest the old regime, albeit with a very adult connotation.
Yet the reported new name is also overall a bit confusing because the “HBO” is the most recognizable, event-TV-focused piece of the equation. The rebranding, if this report is true, would be virtually erasing (from a brand perspective) the highest-quality content from the label. Let’s just say that no one can figure out why the “HBO Max” part needs to be changed at all. In other words, “Max” might be breaking what isn’t broken.
“If it ain’t broke, break it,” sighs the network with a monolithic brand, content tailor-made for modern consumption, and an early presence in streaming media. “Let’s start over, and win over the kids that have no money by acting 10 years younger.”
— Tim Bishop (@timfumble) April 12, 2023
hbo max dropping hbo // people who watch hbo pic.twitter.com/5NDLZQFuJ7
— alex (@alex_abads) April 12, 2023
Let me get this straight… They DON’T want people to associate their product with premium (ie high quality) content?
Most brands would kill to have that kind of association with their brand
— Eye Tyrant (@SeebooTheGoblin) April 12, 2023
Out of the two word phrase “HBO Max” they managed to get rid of the only word that had brand value
Just inconceivably poor managememt from the discovery executives who are running the show now https://t.co/3qHrWDNhOE
— Arlen Parsa (@arlenparsa) April 11, 2023
HBO Max dropping the HBO part is exactly the kind of business decision I’d expect.
“Have you caught Love & Death?”
“No. What’s it on?”
“Is that like a friend…or a porn site?”
— Richard Newby (@RICHARDLNEWBY) April 11, 2023
So Warner Bros Discovery is going to rebrand HBO Max as “Max.” Why not call it “Maxwell” or “Maximilian” or “Maxine” while they’re at it? That makes no sense.https://t.co/KXUSDu5xSl
— Ken Fang — Very Asian (@fangsbites) April 12, 2023
“What if we took everything that made HBO Max good and the best service around and made it really stupid and bad” https://t.co/TMzwRD75mO
— Douglas Reyes-Ceron (@dreyesceron) April 12, 2023
getting rid of the HBO in HBO Max is probably one of the most insane marketing decisions in tv history https://t.co/v9AAjUVVTL
— i want to bailey-ve (@been_herde) April 11, 2023
So HBO: MAX & Discovery+ will combine to create “MAX”…Huh?! pic.twitter.com/xRMh7g74GN
— Matt Neglia (@NextBestPicture) April 12, 2023
People will probably still keep saying “HBO Max” for quite some time. However, one user wondered, “Did Elon buy this company,” which might be a harsh, but that’s how the Internet (i.e., the audience) might see things.
Did Elon buy this company
— (@TKOA702) April 12, 2023
We should find out soon whether “Max” is really the new label. The streaming realm is a strange place!