Advanced Television

WBD unveils unified Max SVoD

April 13, 2023

By Colin Mann

Max is to be the name for the SVoD service from Warner Bros Discovery which will replace HBO Max and discovery+.

Set to launch in the US on May 23rd, with European rollout scheduled for 2024, Max will incorporate HBO Originals, Warner Bros films, Max Originals, the DC universe, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, an expansive offering of kids content, and programming across food, home, reality, lifestyle and documentaries from brands such as HGTV, Food Network, Discovery Channel, TLC, ID and more.

“From the biggest superheroes to real life champions; from culture-shaping dramas to taste-shaping entertainment; from fantastical realms to the realest of worlds, Max will offer an unrivalled range of choice,” said JB Perrette, President & CEO, Global Streaming & Games, Warner Bros Discovery. “This new brand signals an important change from two narrower products, HBO Max and discovery+, to our broader content offering and consumer proposition. While each product offered something for some people, Max will have a broad array of quality choices for everybody.”

Max will offer three pricing options, giving subscribers the choice to select which plan best fits the needs of their household.

  • Max Ad-Lite | $9.99 (€9.09)/month or $99.99/year

Two concurrent streams, 1080p resolution, no offline downloads, 5.1 surround sound quality

  • Max Ad Free | $15.99/month or $149.99/year

Two concurrent streams, 1080 resolution, 30 offline downloads, 5.1 surround sound quality

  • Max Ultimate Ad Free | $19.99/month or $199.99/year

Four concurrent streams, up to 4K UHD resolution, 100 offline downloads, Dolby Atmos sound quality

“The Max service is a wide-ranging mosaic of content that will be unmatched in the breadth, reach, and excellence of its offerings,” said Casey Bloys, Chairman and CEO, HBO and Max Content. “We are unique because we have the best-in-all-categories across the board by any measure – be they ratings, awards, fandom. We know we can satisfy any craving because we have the brands that people love. At Max, they will find what they want, when they want it.”

Newly announced titles include a Max Original Harry Potter series, a faithful adaptation of the beloved original book series by JK Rowling, who will serve as executive producer; a Max Original comedy series derived from The Big Bang Theory; an HBO Original Game of Thrones prequel A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight; a Max Original drama series based on The Conjuring films; Magnolia Network’s Fixer Upper: The Hotel; Discovery Channel’s Survive the Raft; Max Original Peter & the Wolf from Bono; Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty: The Anime; Investigation Discovery’s Lost Women of Highway 20; Cartoon Network’s Tiny Toons Looniversity; and TLC’s Love & Translation.

Max also provided first looks at additional upcoming titles including Max Originals The Penguin (a spin-off of The Batman movie) starring Colin Farrell; HBO Original drama series The Sympathizer, an espionage thriller and cross-culture satire based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name; HBO Original limited series True Detective: Night Country starring Jodie Foster and Kali Reis; HBO Original limited series The Regime starring Academy Award-winner Kate Winslet; Max Original six-part docuseries SmartLess: On The Road, following Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes as they take viewers on an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the sold-out live tour of their podcast; and Max Original kids series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai. In addition to Max original programming, a first look at HGTV’s four-part Barbie Dreamhouse Challenge hosted by Ashley Graham, which will also be available to stream on Max, was shown during the service preview.

“Our incredible team has been hard at work taking the best of both legacy technology platforms to deliver a product that works much better,” said Perrette. “We’re confident that all these enhancements will deliver a stronger experience for our customers, which will drive more engagement, help enhance retention, and improve customer satisfaction, which in turn will help us continue to scale.”

Highlights include:

  • Premium Video Playback: A new video playback experience will deliver smooth and cinematic video to users, wherever and however they prefer to watch. Whether binging their favourites, watching offline on-the-go, or tuning in on Sunday nights for the latest episode of Succession, users can count on seamlessly diving into their preferred worlds.
  • Personalisation: Max will expand personalisation beyond just the home page, offering a differentiated and high-performing experience for every user across the whole service. By significantly increasing investment in machine learning while maintaining an editorial voice, WBD says Max will deliver a unique human and machine approach that will help surface the best content for its users.
  • More Prominent Kids Experience: At launch, Max will introduce a default kids profile for new subscribers along with accompanying parental controls. Parents can choose to customise settings and select to limit content for the kids profile by ratings: little kids (tv-y), big kids (tv-y7, tvy7-fv), big kids plus (tv-g, g), preteens (tv-pg/pg), or teens (tv-14, pg-13). Parents will also have the ability to set individual profile PINs to lock access to their adult profiles, as well as a parent code to lock their children inside of the Max kids experience.
  • Simplified Navigation: Max works harder so viewers don’t have to. Streamlined categories, improved content details pages, shortcuts, dedicated brand hubs and thematic content rails, aim to make exploring the app and discovering new interests easier. The updated design coupled with a better personalisation engine are designed to help consumers quickly find and discover the best of what they are looking for.
  • 4K UHD: The Ultimate Ad-Free tier of Max will have an expanded catalogue of content available in 4K UHD including key programming such as Game of Thrones, The Last of Us, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Dark Knight Trilogy and more. All Warner Bros movies released during 2023 and going forward will also be available in 4K UHD when they arrive on Max following their theatrical windows.

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