It looks like Max, the rebranded, combined HBO Max/Discovery+ streamer launched on May 23, is off to a pretty good start — at least among existing subscribers.
In Max’s first week, 70% of HBO Max subscribers took the simple steps to transition to the new service, JB Perrette, Warner Bros. Discovery’s global streaming president, told The Wall Street Journal.
Of course, that leaves 30% who didn’t bother, for whatever reason — even though HBO Max subscribers will, at least initially, pay no more for Max, and the new service includes 20% of Discovery+’s programming as well as HBO Max’s current and library titles.
The malingerers will be prompted to join Max each time they open their current, still-active accounts.
Meanwhile, Perrette acknowledged that an unspecified number of Discovery+'s roughly 20 million subscribers have moved over to HBO Max, even though Discovery+ continues to exist as a standalone service.
However, the Discovery+ cancellations have been “very much in line” with WBD’s expectations, he said.
Max has three tiers: Max “Ad-Lite” at $9.99/month, Max Ad Free at $15.99/month and Max Ultimate Ad Free (4K) at $19.99/month.
In the U.S., Discovery+ with ads costs $4.99 per month, and the ad-free version costs $6.99 per month.
Combined, the two services had about 96 million subscribers as of year-end 2022.
The merger of the two services was a major driver of the merger of Discovery Inc. and WarnerMedia, and they linchpin of WBD’s streaming strategy.
The combined platform is supposed to result in enhanced engagement, reduced churn and accelerated subscriber acquisition — although there’s no word yet on the last factor.
And that, in turn, is supposed to do much to drive the turnaround of WBD’s streaming business.
During last month’s quarterly investor call, WBD CEO David Zaslav said the company now expects the business to be profitable by the end of this year, which would be well ahead of its original projection of 2024.