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New Max streaming service combines HBO Max and Discovery on May 23

Warner Bros. Discovery today finally detailed the next generation of the combined companies’ streaming service, combining thousands of shows and movies under one roof. The reimagined service is named simply, Max. It’ll be available in North America on May 23, in Latin America in the fall, and in Europe in early 2024.

The new Max service will cost the same as the current HBO Max scheme. The ad-free plan remains $16 per month, or you can do $10 per month if you don’t mind advertising. And a new “Ultimate” plan will get you 4K viewing, four concurrent streams, and up to 100 downloads for $20 a month.

Dubbed “the one to watch,” (Get it? Because it’s a single new service with a lot of stuff) the new service is the culmination of months of debate about what the new service would look like. CEO David Zazlav said during a live-streamed event that, in addition to the shows and movies you expect from the likes of HBO, Warner Bros., and Discovery separately, it will also add news and sports in this incarnation.

Legacy HBO Max apps will automatically update to the new Max on some platforms on May 23, but some will require a new download. Discovery+ will continue to exist in its current form.

The One to Watch | Official Promo | Max

“We are not pickers. We are content makers,” Zazlav said.

The goal, said JB Perrette, CEO and president of global streaming and games for Warner Bros. Discovery, is to make it easier for consumers to find what they want to watch amongst a sea of streaming services. And it’ll all be available for a single price.

“Our incredible team has been hard at work taking the best of both legacy technology platforms to deliver a product that works much better,” Perrette said in a press release. “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.”

There will be more than 40 new titles and seasons every month, said Casey Bloys, chairman and CEO for HBO and HBO Max, just before unveiling a first look of the Penguin spinoff in the Batman universe.

The newly combined services will increase engagement, enhance retention, strengthen performance, and optimize monetization, Bloys said. On HBO Max, he said, three-quarters of the viewership comes only from the home screen. On Discovery+, the majority of viewership comes from elsewhere on the app. “People find and enjoy a ton more content on Discovery Plus,” Bloys said.

The new app will have larger images and a better user interface. There also will be hubs for brands and genres that fall under the Max umbrella. And machine learning will help power recommendations for what to watch next.

The new app also will help reduce churn by alerting customers both on and off the app when payment options fail, and you’ll now be able to pay for your subscription via PayPal.

The sign-in process also will be easier, as will the downloads feature, with improvements that will get you into your show or movie quicker — some 20% or 30% faster, Bloys said.

And there will be a new, more prominent experience for children’s accounts. At launch, there will be a default kids profile for new subscribers, with accompanying parental controls. Parents will be able to choose from various content limits, and set individual profile PINs to lock down adult profiles.

Another new Max original will be from Chuck Lorre in the world of The Big Bang Theory. Details aren’t yet known, though. And fans of the Smartless podcast have a new original to look forward to from Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes, with Smartless: On The Road, which will present live versions of the show.

On the home-renovation side, Chip and Joanna Gaines are taking on the hotel business with Fixer Upper: The Hotel, coming this fall.

Survive the Raft promo image.
A promo image from Survive the Raft on Max. Warner Bros. Discovery.

Of course, there will be reality series, and Love & Translation takes that genre global with a dozen international women and three American men —  and none of the women speak English. And Survive the Raft is on the way, exploring “what happens when strangers from all walks of life come together to live and work at sea.”

On the children’s content side of the equation will be an animated version of the classic tale Peter & The Wolf, from Bono and Gavin Friday. “The messaging of vigilance, bravery, and resilience that were core to the original symphony are still echoed throughout our interpretation,” the two said in a press release. But we spin a traditional fairy tale into a unique adaptation that also incorporates the topic of loss, redemption, and recovery.

Max presumably will be available everywhere you already can get HBO Max and Discovery+. That’ll include Roku and Amazon Fire TV, which are the two largest platforms in the world. It also should include Apple TV, Google TV and Android TV, as well as smart TV platforms and web browsers.

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