Why did Max drop HBO from his name?

HBO chief content officer Casey Bloys says the crazy people today are the same people who are crazy, with “HBO” in the name in the first place.

After less than three years, HBO Max is getting a new brand. Warner Bros. Discovery officially announced on Wednesday that the service, which will be relaunching on May 23rd, will henceforth be known only as “Max.” “Social network” quote).

Dropping the name HBO, borrowed from the premium cable channel owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, left many observers scratching their heads. But on the subject of Warner Bros. Studio Burbank, following Max’s unveiling, HBO and Max Content head Casey Bloys told the press that the prestige of the HBO name was exactly why it was pulled from the streamer.

“The same people today who are concerned about taking ‘HBO’ out of the name … were upset that they put ‘HBO’ in the name in the first place, that it was called ‘HBO Max,'” Bloys said in a in the room. reporters. “There was a lot of, ‘How does HBO stack up against ‘The Big Bang Theory?’ he recalled.

“So I understand and appreciate the passion people have for the HBO brand and protecting it and believing in it — and no one believes that more than me and my team,” Bloys continued. “It’s a premium brand. It’s not designed to take over everything in the streaming service.”

HBO, which started in 1972 but only began to produce and broadcast original programming on a large scale in the ’90s, has built a strong reputation for high-quality, expensive and generally “prestige” television shows such as “Succession,” “The Sopranos” and “Game of Thrones.” While one of HBO Max’s biggest appeals is access to HBO shows, the streamer’s reach is significantly broader — including kids’ shows like “Sesame Street,” DC Comics superhero shows, Turner Classic Films and The Criterion Collection’s iconic cinema and anime. via Crunchyroll and Warner Bros. Television with shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “The OC”

Before the Max rebrand, there was a somewhat awkward divide between the original HBO and HBO Max; the streamer produces some series that match HBO’s “prestige” features, such as “Station Eleven” or “Hacks,” but also releases shows that include teen reboots, such as “Gossip Girl” and “Pretty Little Liars,” as well as kids’ shows like the upcoming “Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai.”

THE "Max" logo

The “Max” logo

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Discovery

As for why WBD executives decided to go with just “Max” instead of slapping on the Warner Bros. name, the company’s head of streaming, JB Perrette, said opportunity was one of the first words Warner Bros. and discussed after the Discovery deal was announced. two years ago.

“There are real trade-offs. We looked rather briefly at the various alternatives that could include Warner, WB or the brand. And we just felt there was no need for that,” Perette said. “We had ‘Max’, which was short, tight. It says something universal. Yeah, the risk ended up being that maybe it’s less specific because it’s a generic word. But the flip side is that he made it very approachable and very easy. And honestly, when we find ourselves talking about (HBO Max), the abbreviation is always “Max.” We never even said HBO, we just said it was on Max.

According to Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav, the name Max worked for the streamer because it was “flexible.” It also claimed that according to Bloys and his team’s market research, the Max name was already known and recognized for its high-quality content.

“Which streaming service has the best quality, which streaming service has the series you like the most?” Zaslav said. “And to give that up, by coming up with another name, a lot of people see Max as the top of the heap in that category.”

Although HBO’s name has been removed from Max, its new logo points to the cable channel, with the letter “A” mimicking HBO’s classic logo. According to Perrette, this move was completely intentional: “I really liked that it gave some nods to heritage and history. And it gave Max a distinct look like three letters. So we like the dot in the Max as a sort of differentiator and still a nod to history.”

In addition to ditching HBO from Max, WBD signaled its priorities for the rebooted streamer by focusing on franchises and existing IP during the unveiling. The final announcement at Wednesday’s press conference was an official order for a “Harry Potter” TV adaptation, and other shows included a “Batman” spinoff focusing on the Penguin, a “Conjuring” show and a new “Big Bang Theory.” spinoff.

Tony Maglio contributed to this report.

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