HBO Max rebrand to “Max” sparks concerns among customers and industry experts


Warner Bros. Discovery

The new Max logo is almost identical to previous with the exception of the HBO branding.

Alex Banerjee, News Editor

In a surprising move that has left industry experts scratching their heads, HBO Max recently rebranded itself as “Max,” dropping the iconic HBO name. However, this decision has raised skepticism and concerns about its potential negative impact on brand recognition and market position.

The HBO brand is synonymous with premium content and groundbreaking television. By removing the HBO name, the rebranding risks erasing the brand recognition built over the years. Customers who associate HBO with high-quality programming may question the level of content offered under the rebranded “Max” platform.

Senior Tejus Kanathur commented on the quality of HBO’s originals. “The Last of Us was beautifully directed, really honoring the original title in its fullest,” he stated. “I think HBO has consistently put out amazing originals where other services like Netflix that don’t even compare.”

In the increasingly competitive streaming landscape, differentiation is crucial. With almost every possible media company having their own streaming service, being the one that stands out among the rest is vital.

The decision to rebrand as simply “Max” raises concerns about distinguishing itself from competitors. Potential subscribers may struggle to understand what sets the service apart, hindering customer acquisition efforts and impeding growth.

Moreover, removing “HBO” from the name may create a perception of a loss in quality and prestige. HBO’s commitment to excellence has earned it a loyal following, and the rebranding may raise doubts about whether “Max” can maintain the same standards. This perception could impact subscriber retention and discourage new sign-ups.

Successful rebranding often leverages a company’s heritage and brand equity to establish trust. The decision to drop the HBO name overlooks the power of its entertainment legacy, potentially alienating loyal customers with a deep emotional connection to the brand.

The rebranding decision also raises questions about misalignment within the HBO ecosystem. With various HBO-branded channels and services like HBO Go and HBO Now, customers may struggle to differentiate between platforms. This lack of consistency in branding could lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.

Though the rebrand does bring new content; with Discovery+ shows being added to the roster, a whole new section of content is being added to the catalog. Discovery owned channels like TLC, HGTV and Food Network are just some of what has been added to the already extensive HBO list.

While the added shows are a positive for the new Max service, it may be the only positive.

With the switch to Max, the HBO Max app is not being updated, but rather an entirely new app is being created. Creating massive confusion for many customers along with technical difficulties. 

Making a new app caused problems for the rollout with multiple server shutdowns, crashes, and bugs plaguing the Max app. Why HBO didn’t just update their previous app is unknown at this time.

Along with technical difficulties on the new app, the new app also changed the way directors and writers are credited.

Previously the writers, directors and producers were all listed individually, but the new Max format lumps them all together. Removing the proper credits for those who worked on the shows.

This would be harmful at any time but especially now with the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) being on their 22nd day of strike for being underpaid and uncredited. In a seemingly purposeful move, the writers have been cut out of the credits as individuals and just put together.

As the streaming industry rapidly evolves, rebranding strategies must be carefully considered. While refreshing a brand can be powerful, the risks and rewards must be weighed. HBO Max’s rebrand to “Max” raises concerns about brand recognition, differentiation, customer perception, and misalignment with existing HBO services.

The new Max service is not without pros, but is being continuously weighed down by its multitude of cons. Industry experts and customers will closely observe how the rebranding unfolds and its impact on the streaming service’s long-term success.