HBO Max Cutting Shows

HBO Max Is Cutting the Fat

August 23, 2022

News media was abuzz this week after it was announced that HBO Max is removing nearly 70 titles ahead of its merger with Discovery+. As HBO Max and Discovery+ move toward merging, it's clear that some slimming of content is underway as Discovery (which now owns both ) is looking to cut costs.

Is A Slimmer HBO Max Library A Good Thing?

HBO Max launched in May 2020 as the successor to HBO Now. WarnerMedia intended the new HBO Max service to be a catch-all for both its popular and well-received HBO content (like Game of Thrones) and its WarnerBrothers branded content. The service quickly took, thanks in no small part to HBO's already extensive library of hits.

When Discovery bought WarnerMedia from AT&T, it got the whole shebang, including HBO. But it spent $43 billion on the purchase, which isn't cheap by any stretch of the imagination. Discovery, Inc. only generated a revenue of $10 billion in 2020, meaning its WarnerMedia purchase was about 4x its annual revenue.

Cost cutting is just a natural consequence of such a big spend. But will it be worth it?

1. The Shows Leaving Are Pretty Small

Quite obviously, the shows getting cut from HBO Max (and likely some of the Discovery content in the future) are fairly small. These include some originals like Ellen's Next Great Designer, some Cartoon Network shows like Might Magiswords, and some licensed, including Pac-Man and the Might Swords.

2. It's All Hell for the Streaming-Only Creators

The creator of Summer Camp Island, an HBO Max original cartoon, probably put it into the best perspective:

Consequently, this is actually a serious consequence of digital-only content that needs to be better addressed (and we will, in point #3).

3. The Deletion of Digital Only Content Is an Existential Threat

In years past, where all content was on physical media, it was impossible to completely get rid of TV shows or movies. Even if a DVD or VHS was rare, it likely still existed somewhere if you looked hard enough. But in our digital age, content ownership has effectively disappeared. Digital-only streamers rarely put their content on physical media for sale. That means, unless you resort to illegally downloading content, you have no assurances that you can watch that content ever again if the streamer decides to just delete it all.

For both content creators who want people to enjoy their shows and viewers, this effectively means the end of content ownership as we know it. And that's something we should all be concerned about.


This Week's Streaming Guide

1. Fans of Netflix's 'The Witcher' Series Will Get a Look Behind the Scenes

The new 'World of the Witcher' series takes a behind-the-scenes look at the series this Tuesday (Aug. 23). -

  2. John McAfee Documentary Hits Netflix 

The man behind one of the most popular antivirus software had a wild ride of a life and a penchant for crime. Watch 'Running with the Devil: The Wild World of John McAfee' on Netflix this Wednesday (Aug. 24). -

  3. New HBO Documentary Examines the Impact of (Now Adult) Children Following the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina 

Focusing on adults who were children during Katrina, this documentary looks at the real-life consequences of the disaster. Watch on HBO this Wednesday (Aug. 24) -

4. 'Star Trek: Lower Decks' Returns for Season 3

The hit Star Trek cartoon returns to Paramount+ this Friday (Aug. 26). -

News and Industry Developments

1. 68 Movies and TV Shows Removed from HBO Max

It's a bloodletting nobody asked for -

2. You Won't Be Able to Download Shows on Netflix's Ad-Supported Plan

Really anyone surprised? -

3. Is Disney's CEO Misrepresenting its D+ Success?

If so, it wouldn't be the first time a company has done that for the sake of marketing. -

4. Paramount+ Now Comes with a Walmart+ Subscription

And at no additional cost...somehow. -

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