Cinemax Is Almost Dead

As soon as Warner Media announced its new streaming service viewers should have known the jig was up. HBO Max launched ushering an end to the terribly confusing mess of having an HBO Go app for cable subscribers to stream and an HBO Now app for HBO Subs without cable. HBO Max also ushered in the end of the DC Universe streaming service by shuttling its titles to HBO Max. The same thing has been happening with Cinemax since the launch of the streaming app. Warner Discovery announced that is going to shutter Cinemax Go. The company will still maintain the actual Cinemax channels, it is just ending the TV everywhere app for the those channels at the moment. But there is no reason to believe that the entire offering is not on its way out as a separate brand sooner than later.

Cinemax was a service born to meet a need that is now totally unnecessary. When all TV was linear, (tied to a time slot and day) a network could only fit so many titles into a day. HBO could not have 5 thousand different movies on TV per month no matter what kinds of rights it had. Much less show all of its original series. So HBO launched Cinemax and began to market them together as a package. Showtime did the same thing with “The Movie Channel”. Both were derivatives of more popular services. Later, with the rise of digital cable, HBO launched multiple branded channels along with multiple Cinemax channels. There were channels for different time zones that showed the same shows and movies in the same order as the original East Coast-based networks and then it started breaking things down into different concentrations like HBO Family etc.

None of that is necessary when the entire library can be made available on demand. It is like having 20 unlimited batteries for one flashlight. You just need one.  It never needs to be replaced. Thus is the situation with HBO and Cinemax. There is no longer any need for multiple HBO channels or two channels owned by the same media company trading content back and forth for all time. Yes, Cinemax does have a handful of shows exclusive to the service. But so did CNN+ and The DC Universe. They can just be HBO Max Originals now. No big deal. As these changes unfold, there will surely be some holdovers who refuse to stream or set up Internet access at their homes to take advantage of the modern TV landscape. But they are likely not a large swath of the country. Something like that probably won’t happen until 5G coverage fixes the problem of rural access to high-speed Internet. Once it does the countdown will start quickly.

Now that TV is about libraries and media rights there is just no reason to have all of these channels and brands. In fact, it works counter to the consumers because it makes it harder to find the things they want to watch. Imagine if Netflix decided to break all of its programming genres into totally different services. Netflix Documentaries, Netflix Reality, Netflix Science Fiction, Netflix Kids. It would be pure insanity. Legacy companies are now adjusting to the way that people actually take in the content and telling those who have not gotten with the program to get on the bus or get left behind.