While the launch of WarnerMedia’s new all-encompassing streaming service HBO Max has been largely successful, there has been one area in which consumers have expressed some confusion: the branding.
For those keeping score at home, the arrival of HBO Max meant the existence of four “HBO” entities simultaneously with HBO, HBO Now, HBO Go, and HBO Max all occupying space within the market. It always seemed likely that some sort of consolidation was in order. Now, just over two weeks after HBO Max’s debut, WarnerMedia has decided to do just that.
According to Deadline, WarnerMedia is going through with its suspected (and in some cases outright begged for) plans for reorganization of the many HBO brands. The details are as follows.
HBO Go, which was previously only available to subscribers of HBO via a cable package, is being mothballed altogether. HBO cable subscribers can get access to HBO Max via many cable providers such as AT&T, Charter/Spectrum, YouTube TV, Apple, Hulu, Optimum, Suddenlink, Verizon, Cox, WOW!, Atlantic Broadband, RCN, Grande Communications & Wave, MCTV, and others. Since HBO Max is only a U.S. endeavor, however, HBO Go will still be available internationally.
HBO Now, which was available to consumers without cable is now being rebranded to simply HBO. This means that consumers will be able to subscribe to just HBO for $14.99 or the expanded HBO Max for $14.99. HBO Max has access to HBO’s offerings as well as thousands of hours of films and TV shows from the expanded WarnerMedia library. HBO has…HBO. So there’s really no compelling reason to sign up for just HBO unless you are highly averse to seeing posters of DC superhero movies or something.
“Now that HBO Max has launched and is widely distributed, we can implement some significant changes to our app offering in the U.S.,” the company said in a statement. “Most customers who have traditionally used HBO Go to stream HBO programming are now able to do so via HBO Max.”
The system and rebranding is still somewhat confusing but at least there are only two versions of HBO now rather than four. With this branding issue somewhat addressed for now, HBO Max faces only a couple more challenges after its launch in May. The service is still not available to stream via massively popular streaming providers Roku and Amazon Fire. Additionally, HBO Max came under fire for removing Gone with the Wind from its servers in the wake of the country-wide protest against racism and police brutality. The film has since been re-added with added historical context attached.
Despite the initial turbulence, things now look to be calming down in the HBO Max universe…until it becomes time to eliminate HBO altogether at least.