The mashup of HBO Max and Discovery+ is likely to be called just “Max,” according to a new report.
Lawyers for Warner Bros. Discovery are vetting Max as the name for the combined HBO Max/Discovery+ service, CNBC reported, citing anonymous sources. While other names are being considered, Max is the top choice, per the report.
A rep for Warner Bros. Discovery declined to confirm that “Max” was the leading choice for the name of the service and said the company is still discussing what the combined streamer will be call.
Warner Bros. Discovery moved up its planned U.S. launch of the combined HBO Max-Discovery+ platform to spring 2023, a quarter ahead of what it had been aiming for previously, CEO David Zaslav said on the media company’s earnings call last month.
“At the end of the day, putting all the content together was the only way we saw to make this a viable business,” JB Perrette, president and CEO of global streaming and games at Warner Bros. Discovery, said this summer when the combination plans were first announced. “Bringing HBO Max and Discovery+ together is aimed at cutting churn so “there’s something for everyone in the household,” he said.
Whatever the name ends up being, WBD will preserve HBO as one of its major brands, Perrette told analysts: “HBO will always be the beacon and the ultimate brand that stands for television quality.”
Execs haven’t publicly discussed what the name or pricing of the HBO Max-Discovery+ combo will be. On the Q3 earnings call, Perette said pricing is one the things “that makes us particularly optimistic about the products coming together,” in addition to “broader positioning that allows us to move from a product that may have a slightly more tailored approach to a fewer number of people in a household to a product that actually appeals to everybody in a household.” The exec noted that the company believes it has room to increase the price of HBO Max, which for the ad-free tier has not changed from $14.99/month since it was launched in May 2020.
Currently, the domain name “max.com” is registered to and used by Max International, a nutritional supplement products company based in Salt Lake City. Warner Bros. Discovery’s internal code name for the HBO Max/Discovery+ merged service is “BEAM,” according to the CNBC report.
The merged HBO Max/Discovery+ will combine the best elements of both services, Perrette has said previously. For example, he said HBO Max has had “performance and customer issues” — including most recently with the premiere of “The House of the Dragon” — but offers a rich set of features; Discovery+ has more limited features but provides a more robust underlying delivery infrastructure, he said.
In addition to the combination of HBO Max and Discovery+, Zaslav said WBD will be “aggressively attacking” the low end of the streaming market with its own free, ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) offering to launch sometime in 2023. “As a company with the largest film and TV library in the industry, we have a unique opportunity to increase our addressable market and drive real value, and we plan to move quickly,” Zaslav said.