Why HBO Max is removing so many shows and movies

So what’s going on? The media landscape is decidedly different from the early days of the pandemic, and HBO Max remains in flux.

There are myriad reasons why HBO Max is removing shows like “Generation,” “Infinity Train,” “Vinyl,” and “The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo.”

But that breaks down into three key areas: cutting costs, a shift in overall content strategy, and ridding the service of content that subscribers weren’t watching.

Wait, cost cutting? Doesn’t HBO Max own this content?

Just because content lives on a service doesn’t mean it’s free after sunk costs.

Streaming services still have to pay residuals to the cast and crew of a production, and those costs add up. HBO Max will save “north of $100 million a year” after cutting the shows, according to a source familiar with HBO’s decision.

Warner Bros. Discovery told investors it would cut a total of $3 billion in costs for the company, so every little bit counts.

“Keeping titles on a platform comes at a cost,” Julia Alexander, chief strategy officer at Parrot Analytics, told CNN Business. “Does a title bring more value to the platform than its cost? If the answer is no, and especially if that title is a low-engagement title, which many of them are, deleting securities can benefit a company’s bottom line.”

But isn’t the interest of streaming to be “everything in our catalog”?

Streaming has trained consumers to believe that everything will be available forever on a service, especially original content. It’s not always the case.

Other services pull content from their libraries as well. It’s part of the business.

What does Warner Bros. say? Discovery about it?

“As we strive to bring our catalogs of content together on one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both HBO Max and Discovery+,” an HBO Max spokesperson said. at CNN Business. “This will include the removal of certain content from both platforms.”

Didn’t HBO Max cancel ‘Sesame Street’? I think I read that somewhere

No, Big Bird is still alive. However, the company reportedly pulled 200 episodes of the beloved children’s series from the service.

Why did he do this? I thought streaming services wanted more kids content, not less?

Children’s programming is vital to the health of any streaming service, but it requires a big investment, according to Alexander.

“Being invested in children’s programming, especially live action, means going all out,” she said. “You can’t just have a few shows and hope that’s enough. It requires a multi-year plan.”

This also goes for animated content, which was recently on the chopping block at HBO Max. Even a new animated series based on Batman, one of the company’s biggest and most profitable brands, has been dropped.
“Right now, WBD’s top two priorities are to drive growth while reducing costs,” Alexander said. “Children’s programming is a field that the best gamers love netflix (NFLX), Apple (AAPL), disney (SAY)and Amazon (AMZN) are already invested, while YouTube captures the majority of this audience’s attention.”

Ultimately, HBO Max wants to focus more on assets like HBO dramas and adult films at Warner Bros., but it will likely reinvest in kids’ content again at some point.

What does this mean for the future of HBO Max?

Time will tell us.

David Zaslav, the new CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, focuses on generating revenue from traditional revenue streams such as TV ad revenue, cable fees and box office totals, as well as streaming. It’s a change from his predecessor, Jason Kilar, who bet the future was streaming and put the most Ieggs from WarnerMedia in this basket.

The world of streaming is changing and everyone is still thinking about their future.

“It’s not a game where Kilar was right and Zaslav is wrong, or Zaslav is right and Kilar is wrong. It’s a matter of priority,” Alexander said. “The future of streaming is still being determined, but that’s basically where it’s all headed.”

The streaming wars are over

Cable is in decline as broadband grows and the future of streaming will not be unique, she added.

“It’s a premium service like HBO Max on top of ad-supported free platforms like Pluto TV, on top of licensing shows to other players in the streaming and linear space,” Alexander said. . “And it’s in conjunction with the theatrical releases – not a total replacement for it.”

Consumer choice will be a big part of deciding what the next era of streaming — and therefore HBO Max — will be like, she said, adding that “audiences are, and always have been, king.”

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