WBD streaming platform to be named Max, according to reports

US business news channel CNBC is reporting that Warner Bros. Discovery plans to name its new combined streaming platform Max. Due to launch in Spring 2023, the enlarged subscription-based service will combine all content from the recently-merged businesses, including HBO, Discovery, DC Comics, Warner Bros movies and more.

Citing anonymous sources, CNBC makes it sound like the decision is almost made, with Max being vetted by the company’s lawyers. However, it also stressed that the final decision has not been made, so Max could still be ditched at the eleventh hour.

One of the biggest challenges WBD has faced in building the new platform is how to give profile to such a wide range of content. The theory is that it will follow Disney+’s lead, using Max as the gateway to various distinct buckets of content. Disney for example, has a series of dedicated titles for Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Nat Geo etc. The one area where Max might diverge from Disney+ is on sports rights – because the latter also runs sports streamer ESPN+ as a separate subscription offering.

There is a school of thought within WBD that the iconic HBO name should be part of the streamer’s brand. But there are also fears that the HBO brand would be diluted if used as a catch-all for the entire body of WBD content. Currently, management is leaning towards HBO being part of the second tier of brands that consumers see.

If WBD does go for Max, it will be one of the few major streamers that doesn’t incorporate the company’s masterbrand into the name (similar to Peacock). It’s not clear yet whether Max would simply be a stand-alone word or whether it would have a + tacked on the end. Deciding to go with such a generic tag will require a major marketing effort in order to cement brand attribution with the service.

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