What the end of HBO Max — and the rise of ‘Max’ — means for streaming.


A year ago This week, one of the biggest mergers in history finally closed. Now Warner Bros. It was the marriage of Discovery and WarnerMedia that created the $43 billion deal known as Discovery. Soon the axes fell. A few weeks later, the administration shut down the CNN+ news service. There were thousands of layoffs. Then a move that surprised even the closest observers Buttiger He began to attract films and popular shows Western world From HBO Max.

All this bad news came with promises: new CEO David Zaslav wanted the studio to make better DC movies. And to focus on theatrical releases, the company will combine HBO Max and Discovery+ into one monster streaming service. At the time, WIRED was furious that it signaled the death of HBO Max, which quickly became one of the most popular streaming services around. Today, the company announced that the service, now simply called Max, will launch on May 23. Friends, the end is near.

When he took the stage at the press conference to announce Max, Zaslav repeated the word “relevant” several times about the new service. The idea is to combine the company’s intellectual property to make the streaming service home to Batman, Barbie, and more. And Bugs rabbit. as well as, Dragon House And House hunters. True, but then again, that’s TV—not HBO Max.

Warner Bros. Discovery’s honchos clearly know this. Although they describe Max as a place with something for the whole family, they also, in the words of global streaming president JB Perrette, want to “entitle” HBO’s offerings to the new streaming service. At the same time, the execs introduced cross content The Barbie Dreamhouse Challengea new HGTV home renovation series that is, you guessed it, tied to Greta Gerwig’s upcoming release. Barbie Movie. Previously, a wink at an iconic doll like Barbie was right at home on HBO Max; It feels like cognitive dissonance next to Reno’s reality series.

Ironically, this is the confusion Warner Bros. aims to avoid. During the event, Perrette noted that he knew the streaming industry was still in its teens, noting that consumers are calling this an “age of great confusion” about which service is best for them. A single streamer with more Warner Bros. and Discovery content will increase the amount of options available to viewers, but it’s unclear whether it will help them make a choice.

Consumer Choice for Warner Bros. Discovery is a bit of a touchy subject these days. It wasn’t mentioned or mentioned during the event, but late last week four lawmakers — Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas, Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington — sent a letter to the attorney. Gen. Merrick Garland and Justice Department antitrust chief Jonathan Cantor have called for an investigation into the Warner Bros. and Discovery merger. The association, they wrote, “appears to have allowed the company to adopt potentially anticompetitive practices that reduce consumer choice and harm workers in disadvantaged labor markets” (i.e., Hollywood).



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