Warner Bros. Discovery launches ‘Max’ service starting at $9.99/month on May 23

by Ana Lopez

It’s finally time for Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) to reveal details about its highly anticipated streaming service, which combines HBO Max and Discovery+ content. At a press event today, the company announced its name, launch date, price, new features and upcoming content list.

The new streamer is called Max and will be rolling out to subscribers in the United States on May 23. It will next launch in Latin America and then Europe, Asia Pacific (APAC) and other markets in 2024.

In the image above, you can see that the logo has a bright blue color to represent the WBD brand. Max also has a new catchphrase, “One to watch.”

Fortunately, prices for HBO Max subscribers remain the same, as Max costs $9.99 per month for the ad-supported tier and $15.99 per month for the ad-free plan.

There will also be a new subscription option for $19.99 per month. Dubbed “Max Ultimate Free,” the plan offers 4K HDR video quality, the ability to stream on four devices simultaneously, and 100 offline downloads.

It’s possible – at least in our opinion – that WBD launched the plan to better compete with Netflix, which has a $19.99/month premium plan with Ultra HD video quality.

As WBD tries to increase its revenue, the company is likely counting on enticing subscribers willing to pay more for these premium features. The company hinted at a more expensive plan in its Q3 2022 earnings call.

The company also announced a range of new features for Max that aim to improve the user experience. For example, Max has parental controls and a default child profile that is automatically set for new subscribers.

As previously reported, Discovery+ will remain a standalone streaming service in the US, so Discovery+ subscribers won’t have to move to a more expensive plan if they don’t want to. Discovery+ will still cost $4.99/month for ads and $6.99/month for no ads.

In terms of content, Max subscribers get access to thousands of titles from scripted HBO Max series like “Succession” and “Euphoria” to unscripted Discovery+ shows like “90 Day Fiancé” and “Fixer Upper”, among many others.

WBD also announced that new original TV shows are coming to the service.

  • The Penguin: Batman spin-off series starring Colin Farrell as the infamous villain.
  • The Big Bang Theory Project (untitled): a new comedy series based on the popular IP.
  • The Conjuring Project (untitled): a drama series based on the films in New Line Cinema’s ‘The Conjuring’ universe.
  • True Detective: Nightland: spin-off series starring Jodie Foster and Kali Reis as lead detectives.
  • How to be a bookie: TV series starring comedian Sebastian Maniscalco.
  • Smart on the go: TV series about actors Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes who go on tour for their podcast ‘SmartLess’.
  • Fixer upper: The hotel: new series starring Chip and Joanna Gaines as they renovate a historic building in downtown Waco.
  • Love & Translation: TLC relationship series featuring three American men trying to hook up with 12 international women who don’t speak English.
  • And more.

The company previously confirmed it is working on new titles for The Lord of the Rings franchise, a prequel series to Stephen King’s “It” and a Sherlock Holmes TV universe, among others. There will also be a second season of hit HBO Max shows like ‘House of the Dragon’, ‘The Last of Us’ and ‘The White Lotus’.

WBD also officially confirmed today that a Harry Potter Max Original series is coming to the streaming service.

On April 7, four members of Congress sent a letter to the Department of Justice (DOJ) petitioning for an investigation into the Warner Bros. Discovery merger, suggesting potentially anti-competitive behavior.

Democratic Representatives Elizabeth Warren, David Cicilline, Joaquin Castro and Pramila Jayapal allege that the merged company has “enabled it to harm workers and raise barriers to entry in the media and entertainment industries,” the letter said.

The $43 billion deal between WarnerMedia and Discovery was officially closed in April 2022. Since then, the company has implemented several cost-cutting measures to reduce its hefty debt burden. This included the hasty closure of CNN+, the removal of titles from HBO Max, and many layoffs. About 850 layoffs occurred at CNN, CNN+ and WBD’s advertising sales division, according to lawmakers.

WBD reported its fourth-quarter results in February, which showed a net loss of $2.1 billion, including $217 million from the streaming segment. WBD earned $11 billion in revenue. HBO Max and Discovery+ have yet to turn a profit.

The April 2023 letter comes less than two years after nearly 30 members of Congress issued a letter to the DOJ about the same issue.

In December 2021, lawmakers warned the federal executive agency that the merger “raises significant antitrust concerns” and “threatens to increase the market power of the combined company and significantly reduce competition in the media and entertainment industries, harming both consumers and U.S. workers.” according to the 2021 letter.

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