Max is the only one of the eight major streamers (Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+, Hulu, Max, Discovery+, and Peacock) to experience a decline in daily viewers from Q2 to Q3. HBO Max and Discovery+ combined content on May 23 and relaunched as Max.
IndieWire reports that Max had no hit new shows — or even a hit new season of a returning show — during the third quarter. The data analytics firm HarrisX found that Max usage dropped in every age group, especially with those between 18 and 24. According to IndieWire, “Though Max increased its content-addition rate the most of any platform in the quarter, the new stuff — including The Idol and season two of Winning Time — has not resonated. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ all had new or returning favorites in the quarter, the HarrisX survey of nearly 20,000 streaming-video users found.”
The Addition of Discovery+ Content Didn't Broaden Max's Appeal
The addition of Discovery+ content such as Naked and Afraid (pictured) was supposed to attract new viewers to Max even though Discovery+ is still available as a separate service. The HarrisX analysts wrote that the merger has “fallen short of significantly broadening [Max’s] appeal.” During the quarter of Max's launch, Warner Bros. Discovery lost 1.8 million subscribers.
Despite declining viewership, Max still topped a survey rating overall satisfaction with streamers. Variety reports that even though Max topped the Whip Media survey two years in a row, Max dropped from 94% in 2022 to 88% in 2023. Hulu came in second place on the 2023 survey, followed by Disney+.
According to Variety, the companies Variety Intelligence Platform (VIP+) and Luminate collaborated on an extensive report titled “The Show Must Go Off” to determine which linear or streaming programmer canceled the most series. The report covers all canceled shows between 2020 and August 8, 2023. The data shows that the major streamers (Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Max, Apple TV+, Peacock, and Paramount+) have a combined cancellation rate of 12.2%, while linear TV ranks 10.8%. However, the cancellation rate for Max is 26.9%–higher than cable, broadcast, or any other streamer.
Max purged a considerable amount of content — including HBO shows such as Westworld — since Warner Bros. and Discovery merged in 2022. WBD CEO David Zaslav canceled expensive series such as Westworld to reduce the company's sizable debt. Current Max series renewed by the streamer include And Just Like That… (pictured, top) starring Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon, and Kristin Davis, and Peacemaker starring John Cena.