Roman Roy on Succession, puts his hand to his mouth and furrows his brow disapprovingly.

Yes, HBO Max’s New Name Is Terrible and Apparently That’s on Purpose

Taking out HBO is certainly a choice

If you heard the news that HBO Max has decided to rename itself to simply “Max” and found yourself scratching your head, wondering why in the world they would do that, you’ve come to the right place. Sure, taking the name of the channel that brought us the Sopranos, Sex and the City, Game of Thrones, True Blood, Succession and other classics may seem inexplicable, but in an age when there’s Peep-branded Pepsi, anything goes, really.

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Why is HBO Max becoming Max?

If you’re thinking “Max” is named after some kind of nepo baby executive at Discovery, I would like to give you points for creativity, but no. The answer is much more mundane, but if you ask me, just as funny. Per The New York Times:

“Dropping HBO from the name is cementing that ‘we’re not just a home for premium programming,’” Ms. [Julie] Alexander [the director of strategy at the research firm Parrot Analytics] said. “‘We’re the home for anything you want to watch.’”

LOL. So basically, they don’t want you to think of quality when you think of Max, they want you to think of throwaway content you can get anywhere else, got it.

Is Max replacing HBO Max?

The “Max” rebrand is parent company Warner Bros. Discovery’s attempt to get away from the rumored heavily male and heavily online demographic that was HBO Max and transform into something more mainstream. Call me crazy, but maybe if the service stopped removing titles they would have more of a market share? But sure, an expensive rebranding, taking away arguably their most notable brand with the largest recognition, is also an option. A weird inexplicable option, but an option nonetheless. I don’t know how large the committee was that came up with this harebrained scheme, but I could have told them for half the cost that maybe this isn’t the greatest of ideas?

There are some very aggressive subscriber goals for Max to meet, too. Per The New York Times:

Warner Bros. Discovery still has a subscriber goal for its streaming division — 130 million by 2025, up from the 96.1 million now — that would vastly trail Netflix’s current total of 231 million and Disney’s 235 million subscribers across Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu. But executives now believe that the service’s profitability is the most vital benchmark.

Maybe this is a New Coke type of situation (known as one of the biggest marketing blunders of all time if you’re not aware…up until now) where they take away HBO, give Max all types of aggressive goals, and when Max can’t meet them, put HBO back into the brand, and let it try.

If you’re wondering how Max will be different from HBO Max, look no further than the current HBO Max website for answers:

Max combines the worlds of HBO and the DC Universe, plus hit movies, original series and fan-favorite genres like true crime, reality, food, and comedy.

Max will include:

All of HBO Max: HBO series and movies, Max Originals, and select series and movies from Warner Bros., the DC Universe, Cartoon Network, the Turner Library, Looney Tunes, Adult Swim, and more.

Discovery favorites: The best real-life shows from your favorite TV brands: HGTV, the Food Network, TLC, ID, Magnolia Network, Discovery, and more.

Additionally, the service will refine its recommendations, improve performance, give adult profile PIN options, make it easier to sign in and use the service, and have new hubs including genres.

Finally, if you’re a current HBO Max subscriber, your current subscription price will not increase, per the website.

This is certainly a gamble for Warner Bros. Discovery. As long as I can stream my shows, I’ll keep my service, whether it’s called Max or HBO Max, but if they take my TCM away from me, it’s game over.

(featured image: HBO)

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Image of Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson (no, not that one) has been writing about pop culture and reality TV in particular for six years, and is a Contributing Writer at The Mary Sue. With a deep and unwavering love of Twilight and Con Air, she absolutely understands her taste in pop culture is both wonderful and terrible at the same time. She is the co-host of the popular Bravo trivia podcast Bravo Replay, and her favorite Bravolebrity is Kate Chastain, and not because they have the same first name, but it helps.