This week Warner announced their streaming service. It's called HBO Max. It'll feature content from WB, DC, New Line, CNN, the CW, Cartoon Network, and a whole lot more. In previous posts, I've talked about Warner as a potential successful competitor in the field and this announcement definitely shows their potential. They have a broad range of content and iconic franchises that can be used to develop exclusive content. The biggest issue I see here is the name.
HBO is known for premium content. They've built a brand around high-quality television. By attaching the HBO name to their umbrella streaming service, Warner runs the risk of diluting a great brand. Consumers will except "HBO" content from HBO Max. They won't expect family friendly content, anime, or news.
To change this initial perception they'll have to educate consumers on what HBO Max is. That's not going to be easy. It adds a huge challenge to a service that would be attractive to a lot of people. Disney's brand already encompasses a lot. We know Disney owns Marvel, Star Wars, and a lot more. HBO doesn't have this established knowledge. The Warner Bros. name is already well known and could have been used instead in some fashion.
But it's possible they can change perceptions. With enough money and marketing, it's possible. But is it worth it? If they're successful it'll change how we view the HBO brand. But that doesn't guarantee the service's success. If HBO Max fails to attract enough customers it could be killed. But the HBO brand will be irrevocably altered and a successful property will lose its lustre.
By then we could be saying: It's not HBO. It's TV.