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The Disappearing HBO Max Content May Be The Start Of Bigger Changes

HBO Max logo side by side Discovery+ logo
(Image credit: HBO Max/Discovery+)

Thanks to complicated rights agreements and a neverending influx of new content, change is a constant on pretty much every single streaming service. It’s why we devote entire columns to what’s coming and going from the major platforms, but some recent alterations to HBO Max’s lineup have fans wondering whether larger changes are afoot. It looks like they’re probably right, though what exactly that means is very uncertain.

The online chatter started when some users began noticing some animated content from Cartoon Network disappearing from the service including Final Space. Later, other users discovered some TNT and TBS shows disappeared too including Chad and Snowpiercer. This struck users as odd considering those programs air on networks Warner Bros/ HBO Max own, and many took to social media to ask what happened. HBO Max responded but in a generic way on social media, which was highlighted by Pop Culture

Thanks for your interest in HBO Max content. As we work to bring together HBO Max and discovery+, we’re making some changes to our services. Part of that process includes the removal of select content. Thanks. ^SL

What’s specifically going on with any of the aforementioned missing shows is unclear. There are a lot of reasons random content disappears from a service, and there’s not always a larger agenda behind it. Just because TNT has the rights to broadcast a specific show on television doesn’t necessarily mean they have the rights permanently to include it in its parent company’s streaming service. 

That being said, there is clearly a lot of smoke here, and that smoke has only gotten thicker and more noticeable since Vulture dropped an extensive write-up late last month on long-term plans for HBO Max. Sources told the outlet those within the company are expecting big changes for the platform as it merges with Discovery. Everything from a name change to a complete reshaping of its theater distribution model are reportedly on the table.

The outlet claims David Zaslav, the executive tapped to run the new combined streaming service, is a big believer in the theatrical window. We’ve already seen one DC movie that was planned to go straight to streaming cancelled, and there’s reportedly a new directive that any movie intended to be straight to streaming should have a budget of less than $35M and even those could hit theaters for 45 days before appearing on the service.

I’m not sure anyone outside a few key people know exactly what the plan moving forward will be, but I think it’s pretty obvious change is going to come when HBO Max and Discovery+ combine into one platform. Whatever follows will have a ton of content appealing to a wide range of people, and between reality shows, HBO prestige content, Warner Bros movies and more, it may not make sense to be so HBO centric in either the name or the marketing. More importantly, it also may not make sense to keep all of the content on the streaming service at all times. Just as Disney splits its content between Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+, as well as the various networks it owns, we may see some level of that with Warner Bros Discovery too. 

Mack Rawden
Mack Rawden

Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.