HBO Max as we know it is on the way out. It will be replaced by the rebranded Max, which will work as a combination of what we currently call HBO Max and Discovery+. The new app has been in the works since Warner Brother and Discovery Networks merged to form Warner Brothers Discovery.
Observers long wondered if the combined service would come with a higher price. The answer, at the eve of its launch, is no. There will be three tiers and they will look very familiar to HBO Max subscribers. Max will have one tier of ad-supported access for $9.99 or $99.00 per year, one without advertising for $14.99 or $149.00, and another package for $19.99 (you guessed it) for $199.99. The two ad-free versions differ in that the $14.99 price point allows for 2 concurrent streams while the 19.99 version allows for 4 concurrent streams.
In a very wise move, WBD also decided to continue to offer Discovery+ as a separate service instead of trying to convince customers who only wanted the reality heavy content to pony up for 3 times the cost and get the combined service. By not changing the price structure of HBO Max, the company also avoided angering their premium customers by jacking the rates up and giving them content that they may have otherwise avoided by choice. But here is guessing that we will not see many commercials for Discovery+ on its own. Amazon never talks about how to get Prime Video as a standalone service either.
What we do not know is what Max will actually look like when it hits. Or if there will be any problems with platforms when it launches. The biggest complaint about HBO Max was never so much the content as it was the functionality of the app itself. It was designed to be HBO Go, and HBO Now, but when Warner Brothers and Turner came under the same roof, the new company shoehorned multiple other networks and studio assets into HBO Max. The app has felt crowded and cavernous since.
We also do not know if it will be immediately available on all of the popular streaming platforms. Sure HBO Max is available on everything, and so is Discovery+. But since the new app, will be a different beast it could be that some parties will have to renegotiate revenue sharing and throw us back into a situation where certain platforms are without “Max” for a period, much like the launch of HBO Max, Peacock and others.
Either way, we look forward to seeing what happens.