Wednesday, May 24, 2023

WBD Aiming For Broader Max Audience

When the HBO Max streaming service relaunches on Tuesday as “Max,” Warner Bros Discovery Inc  will learn whether mixing critically acclaimed dramas with reality fare that some might describe as a "guilty pleasure" will attract more subscribers.

“Max” will bring together HBO’s high-end scripted programming like “Succession” and Warner Bros films with Discovery’s food, home and lifestyle content, including "Fixer Upper: Welcome Home,” in a bid to broaden the appeal of the original HBO Max service, as well as reduce the number of people canceling the service each month. It also plans to expand the portfolio of children's content.

Warner Bros Discovery first announced the planned changes on April 12, reports Reuters.

The media company forged by the 2022 union of WarnerMedia and Discovery is betting that the addition of Discovery content will help retain viewers who typically sign up for HBO Max to watch a season of their favorite show – and then cancel after the finale.

It is a formula that proved successful for the Discovery+ service in Poland and the Nordic countries.

“In markets where we had scripted entertainment and nonfiction sitting together, we know the proposition works,” said JB Perrette, Warner Bros Discovery’s president and chief executive of global streaming, adding that despite the common perception of HBO viewers “as only living in an ivory tower of HBO, the reality is we all have guilty pleasures.”

Max also will seek to mine the media company's rich trove of entertainment franchises, with a forthcoming “Harry Potter” series, a “Game of Thrones” prequel and the DC Comics-inspired “The Penguin,” starring Colin Farrell. Perrette said the company also is thinking about how to incorporate sports in its streaming offering.

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