For the next two months, Max will be the “one to watch” for AMC series.
On Friday, seven AMC shows will be available on the former HBO Max under a new category “AMC+ Picks on Max.” For the next 60 days, Max users can binge Seasons 1-7 of “Fear the Walking Dead,” the first seasons of “Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire” and “Dark Winds,” Seasons 1 and 2 of “Gangs of London,” Seasons 1-5 of “Ride with Norman Reedus,” Seasons 1, 2, and 3 of “A Discovery of Witches,” and Seasons 1-4 of “Killing Eve.” (Or, you could just keep watching “How To with John Wilson.”)
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The AMC series will be available on both the ad-free and ad-supported Max tiers, although they’ll be commercial-free for all Max users regardless of plan. They will exist on their own branded rail — until Halloween, which thematically feels appropriate for pretty much all of the migrating series.
It’s a win-win, something both companies were quick to point out in the August 28 announcement. AMC (almost certainly; financial terms were not disclosed) gets some short-term rental income and added exposure on the far-larger streaming platform. It could use both: AMC Networks in total has 11 million streaming subscribers; AMC+ is its largest individual platform. Led by Max, Warner Bros. Discovery has 95.8 million total streaming subscribers.
For its part, Max gets an influx of fresh (to its audience) programming with the potential for lengthy viewership-engagement time. Bonus: Any costs are on the books for only two months.
Yes, cross-platform licensing is back — though in this case, for a limited time only. The everything-old-is-new-again concept, in which one effectively rents out its programming to another platform after the initial window(s) is fulfilled (read: syndication, a model which Warners knows all too well via its Turner brand), currently works both ways for Warner Bros.
Max’s parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, is also sending shows to Netflix with a once-unthinkable partnership that includes “Insecure,” “Band of Brothers,” “The Pacific,” “Six Feet Under” and “Ballers.” Then again, it was once unthinkable that there would be commercials on Netflix.
Ted Sarandos, now Netflix’s co-CEO with Greg Peters, once famously said the O.G. streamer’s “goal” is “to become HBO faster than HBO can become us.” The idea was that prestige-TV-leader HBO, in a theoretical future where it needed cash, would sell its shows to Netflix. And boy is Warner Bros. Discovery in need of cash; David Zaslav’s still got $47 billion in post-merger debt. He’s chipped away at the pile, originally north of $50 billion, through licensing, layoffs, content removal, and price hikes — and, “Barbie.”
Warner Bros. packaged some shows removed from Max (then called HBO Max) and assembled FAST channels for Tubi and Roku. Series like “Westworld,” “F-Boy Island,” “The Bachelor,” “Cake Boss,” and “Say Yes to the Dress,” as well as 90 Warner Bros. films, are among the WBD-owned material now on those two platforms.
Zaslav previously said that Warner Bros. Discovery planned to launch its own FAST service this year, but that proposal has been quiet for a while. IndieWire reached out to a spokesperson from WBD’s streaming business to see if plans have changed, but we did not immediately receive a response.
If these seven series are up your alley and your calendar is clear through Halloween, two months of ad-supported Max ($9.99/month) vs. two months of ad-free AMC+ ($8.99/month) is good deal. For a dollar more per month, you can get the select AMC+ programming without ads anyway (AMC+ is all ad-free), plus the full Max library (with ads). Not bad.
Ad-free Max is $15.99 per month. “Ultimate Ad Free” Max, which allows for streaming on more devices, 4K resolution, and 100 downloads, is $19.99/month.
HBO Max and Discovery+ combined in May to form Max. It’s going fairly well; read the results of a recent customer-satisfaction survey here.
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