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Who knew dumping the HBO name would be disastrous for Max?

When Warner Bros. Discovery decided it was time to rebrand the HBO Max service, the decision to drop one of the most iconic pieces of branding in the entertainment world raised eyebrows.

Drop HBO? The same HBO that gave the world Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, The Wire, Sex and The City, Curb Your Enthusiasm and so many more?

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Sure, that seemed like an absolutely smashing idea in a saturated market where streaming services are losing money hand over fist. As far as ideas go, it’s an absolute Kendall Roy of a plan.

Well now, the cows have come home to roost because Max has 1.8 million less subscribers than it had in the first three months of the year… when, incidentally, the service was called HBO Max.

It became Max on May 23, with the company claiming 70% of the existing subscribers had made the transition within the first week. It seems not everyone is along for the ride now.

It has been quite a lean period for Max in terms of top content. Succession came to a close at the end of May and there hasn’t been much in the way of top dramas to follow. It’s not really a surprise some subscribers are taking a break.

WBD was defiant in the earnings call, despite total subscribers going down from 97.6 million subscribers to 95.8 million. The company is also having to compromise to retain some of those customers. I cancelled, for instance, and got three months of the ad-free plan for $5.99 rather than $9.99.

“The migration to Max has gone exceedingly well with the overwhelming majority of subscribers in the US successfully transferred,” WBD CEO David Zaslav said during the earnings call (via Gizmodo). “While we have seen some expected subscriber disruption, we have experienced lower-than-expected churn throughout this process.”

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