With the official release of HBO Max, the confusion over the brand's streaming strategy has expanded. The expanded lineup became HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO Max. For customers and potential customers, the question over which service was which and who got which features was difficult to keep straight. In fact, in our last conversation about the topic on the show, even we weren't able to keep straight which was which. But, it's about to become far simpler.
The HBO Go app is the way that existing subscribers to the traditional HBO TV service can stream current and past HBO programming on their mobile devices, web, and smart TVs. As of the end of July 2020, the HBO Go platform will be retired in favor of the other two platforms. When HBO Go goes away, HBO Now will be renamed to simply HBO, but its features will remain unchanged. Replacing HBO Go for existing customers is HBO Max, which contains the existing content, plus new licensed content.
While getting HBO Max instead of HBO Go is a theoretical win, for some users it's going to be a major loss. Those users are owners of Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices. If you're keeping track of streaming statistics, you'll know that these two platforms represent 70 percent of streaming devices. Why is this going to be a loss for 70 percent of streaming devices? Because, while HBO Go is available on both platforms, HBO Max is not available. So, if you are a subscriber to HBO and reply on one of these devices to access your streaming content, you are about to lose part of your subscription.
To add insult to injury, the reasoning for sunsetting Go is that Max is "widely available." But, can the app be considered "widely available" if it is missing 70 percent of the streaming device market? We'll see if the company manages to get the app to these platforms before the end of July, but I wouldn't hold your breath.