Max Rebrand Sees Warner Bros. Discovery Return To Kids Space With Reboots & New Parental Controls

Warner Bros. Discovery disappointed the children’s TV industry last year when it pulled a number of shows from HBO Max, signaling an exit from this part of the business.

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However, now, with the launch of the rebranded Max service, the company behind the Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera libraries is returning strong to the sector and admitting that it was ostensibly technical difficulties that caused some of its problems for younger folk.

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“We sit on the best library of IP for kids content [compared] to anyone so we’re not only going to reboot a lot of what we already have in our library but we’re also going to make new [shows],” said Kathleen Finch, Chairman and Chief Content Officer, Warner Bros. Discovery’s U.S. Networks Group

Finch revealed three new kids projects as part of the Max launch: Peter and the Wolf, a short film from Bono and Gavin Friday, Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, which launches on May 23, and Tiny Toons Looniversity.

She also added, “We’ve got all kinds of projects… in the works. It’s a way for us to really target the kids market in a way that that HBO hasn’t been able to because… HBO is not a kid friendly brand, necessarily, even though Warner Bros. has some of the best IP in the business.”

David Zaslav, President and CEO of Warner Bros. Discovery, seconded this. He pointed out that parents were unlikely to tell their babysitter to turn on HBO Max to sate their children and the service, known for airing series such as The Sopranos and The Wire, didn’t have the requisite parental controls.

“We have great kids content from Sesame Street to Harry Potter to Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera and all the original content that Kathleen’s team produces Cartoon Network. But there wasn’t an entry point. So, when anybody goes to Max on [launch] day, they will wake up and there will be a kids hub and right away it will be kid friendly. And we never we didn’t even have the parental

JB Perrette, President and CEO of Global Streaming and International at Warner Bros. Discovery, added that kids hasn’t “met its true potential” on the old HBO Max service.

“Our leading kids brands like Cartoon Network and Boomerang, bolstered by content from DC, Wizarding World, Hanna Barbera and Looney Tunes used to get double digit shares with 2 to 11 linear audiences [but] in streaming that has virtually disappeared even though all the great content and franchises as are still here. Max will better curate our rich history of amazing animation, seminal children’s television and blockbusters the whole family can enjoy as well as new product features.”

HBO Max did have Sesame Street, with new seasons running on the service through 2025.

However, one of the problems that Casey Bloys, Chairman and CEO of HBO and Max Content, found was that it didn’t surround it with other similar types of programming.

“We had Sesame Street on HBO, which is one of the greatest brands in kids. One of the problems was we didn’t surround it with anything else. So, [this solves] part of the problem. One of the benefits here is we don’t have to go figure out how are we going to get a kids business up and running. We have the expertise in house doing so,” Bloys added.

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