A U.S. subscription video on demand (SVOD) service, HBO Max is run by Warner Bros. Discovery. The service will make its American premiere on May 27, 2020. It is based on HBO, Warner Bros, and its affiliated brands’ libraries. The service also features first-run video from the HBO premium television service, original content released under the “Max Originals” label, and material obtained through co-production and library relationships with third parties. The platform replaces both HBO Go, the on-demand streaming platform for HBO pay television subscribers, and HBO Now, a former HBO SVOD service.
Subject to availability and device support, HBO Now and HBO pay television subscribers in the U.S. were transferred for free to HBO Max. The original shows from DC Entertainment’s DC Universe service were transferred to HBO Max as Max Originals, replacing the streaming portion of that service. In 2021, the HBO Max service started to enter foreign regions.
HBO Max’s pre-launch logo, from July 9, 2019, through October 29, 2019. On October 10, 2018, WarnerMedia declared that it would introduce an over-the-top streaming service incorporating material from its entertainment brands in the latter half of 2019. The service was supposed to begin in late 2019 with three tiers. Midway through May 2019, AT&T chairman and CEO Randall L. Stephenson said that the company would use the HBO brand and partner with cable operators so that the streaming service would be available to HBO cable subscribers. A beta and full launch were scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of 2020, respectively.
Under WarnerMedia’s Entertainment division, which was then led by Robert Greenblatt, HBO Max was created. With responsibility for HBO Max-exclusive original programming and library content, Kevin Reilly, president of WarnerMedia Entertainment Networks, which includes the majority of the company’s ad-supported entertainment channels like TBS, TNT, and TruTV, was also appointed chief content officer of HBO Max. Tony Goncalves, the CEO of Otter Media, who oversees the development, continues to be Andy Forssell’s boss despite his appointment as the service’s executive vice president and general manager. The HBO programming president, Casey Bloys, continued to oversee the company’s main service but originally stayed out of the Max-only content.
WarnerMedia made a key announcement on August 7, 2020, under the leadership of its new president Jason Kilar, which he characterized as “moving into this wonderful moment of transition” toward direct-to-consumer services. Greenblatt and Reilly thus quit the organization. To create a new Studios and Networks company led by that studio’s CEO Ann Sarnoff, WarnerMedia Entertainment was disbanded and its programming activities merged with those of Warner Bros. Reilly’s prior duties, and full programming management of HBO and HBO Max were entrusted to Bloys, who reported to Sarnoff. With direct reporting to Kilar, Forssell has been appointed the head of a new HBO Max operating business unit.
Accessibility & Technology
HBO Max didn’t support 4K, HDR, Dolby Vision, or Dolby Atmos at first, but these technologies were “part of the HBO Max product roadmap” and were anticipated to be supported later. With the release of Wonder Woman 1984, 4K, HDR, and Atmos support were introduced. WarnerMedia has promised to continue adding material in these formats until 2021 and beyond. When the program first launched, it supported closed captioning but not audio description (AD), which is a necessary feature for people who are blind or visually impaired. The American Council of the Blind announced in October 2020 that it had reached an agreement with WarnerMedia under which at least 1,500 hours of HBO Max content will be accessible to people who are visually impaired by the end of March 2021, rising to at least 6,000 hours by the same month in the following year, and other accessibility improvements to the website and apps will be made by September 2021. On March 26, 2021, HBO Max started rolling out AD for a selection of titles.
HBO Max app
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