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HBO Max and Cartoon Network content purge, HBO Max offers 30% off for new subscribers amids the purge

Summary

HBO Max reportedly going to have 37 shows removed from the platform (List on the sources), particularly in the unscripted and animated fields. Some of the examples includes Infinity Train, Summer Camp Island (which was set to have 6th and final season released in 2023 after facing delay orders despite being near finished few months ago), Close Enough (which was cancelled after 3 seasons)Ellen’s Next Great Designer, My Mom, Your DadGeneration Hustle, Uncle Grandpa, The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo (and other select Sesame Street Specials) and newly available Elliott From Earth. While the purge was confirmed, the exact date or time when the titles will be taken off was not announced, but it seems that the purge is happening right now (some sources rumored that it will be removed this week and it seems that it did held up. with Infinity Train being no longer available and they even removed listing for the DVD in Amazon). Despite this, HBO Max still offers 30% discount for new subscribers. It's not just HBO Max, Cartoon Network are also in the middle of the purge. Show media got removed not just from CN app or HBO Max, but also CN Youtube channel and even Twitter page. This includes episode clips, trailers, soundtracks and even pilots (Examples of the affected shows are Infinity Train, Elliot From Earth (happened before WBD investor call) and OK KO). Apparently the show purge was also not communicated to any of the showrunner or crews, although shortly after the sudden purge announcement, CN stated that Victor & Valentino and Summer Camp Island will continue to air on regular CN. This are still part of WB/ Discovery merger that happened in early August, stating that the removal of some of the content was for 'bringing their content catalogs together under one platform', and also in effort for cost-cutting and tax write-off.

 

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Update, 8/18/21 at 2:05 p.m.: Cartoon Network sent us a statement this morning, noting that “Victor & Valentino and Summer Camp Island will continue to air on Cartoon Network.” Dates are TBD, but, “fans can look forward to the remaining new episodes of both shows on CN this year.”

 

Another week, another revelation that Warner Bros. Discovery is taking a sharp and bloody implement to its HBO Max content library—and especially the animated and kids’ programming in the streaming service’s catalogue. This is per Deadline, which reports that 37 more titles are being stripped from the service, most of them either animated shows or reality TV. And while some of the affected programs are licensed shows that the streamer was simply distributing, a decent chunk of them were HBO Max originals or products of Warner Media’s various animation branches—including shows that are reportedly still in production, and were expected to broadcast new episodes next year.

 

Take, for instance, the case of Summer Camp Island, which was previously supposed to release its already-completed final season a few weeks ago, before suddenly getting hit with an order delaying it until 2023. Now, like a number of shows that originated on Cartoon Network before migrating to HBO Max to bulk out its content over the last few years, the series is on the list of shows being pulled from the service outright this week—leaving a massive question mark about where these 20 finished-but-never-released episodes of TV will air, if anywhere. Series creator Julia Pott expressed her dismay at the move (which she apparently learned about from the Deadline piece!) on Twitter today. (avclub)

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HBO Max will remove 36 titles from its service as early as this week, Variety has confirmed. A spokesperson for HBO Max attributed the decision to the pending merge of the platform with Discovery+, which is also owned by Warner Bros. Discovery. “As we work toward bringing our content catalogs together under one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both HBO Max and discovery+,” HBO Max’s statement reads. “That will include the removal of some content from both platforms.”

 

Taking off the titles from streaming would also help Warner Bros. Discovery cut costs by removing lesser-watched programs to save money on residuals. An exact date or time when the titles will be taken off has not been announced. [...]

 

Although HBO Max has removed several titles in the past weeks, including several Warner Bros. films and HBO TV shows such as “Camping,” “Vinyl,” “Mrs. Fletcher” and “Run,” the latest announcement represents the largest quantity of titles to be taken off the service. In addition, 20 original HBO Max shows will be taken off the platform, including teen drama “Generation,” animated anthology series “Infinity Train,” holiday-themed reality dating show “12 Dates of Christmas” and “Sesame Street” spinoff “The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo.” It is currently unclear whether they will be made available on DVD or rental services, or if their removal will result in them becoming completely inaccessible.

(variety)

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Warner Bros. Discovery is eager to lock in HBO Max customers on annual plans — even as the streamer is culling dozens of titles in a cost-cutting effort. On Thursday, HBO Max launched a new limited-time discount for new and returning customers, offering 30% off in the first year for users who prepay for a yearly subscription plan. Under the deal terms, you can sign up for the HBO Max no-ads yearly plan for $104.99 for the first year (versus $149.99 regularly) or the HBO Max with ads yearly plan for $69.99 for the first year (versus $99.99 regularly). Compared with the streamer’s regular month-to-month pricing, the discounted offers represent a 42% savings.

 

Meanwhile, also Thursday, HBO Max said at least 36 more titles will be leaving the service this week. That includes 20 original HBO Max shows, including teen drama “Generation,” animated anthology series “Infinity Train” and kids’ show “Summer Camp Island,” as well as several “Sesame Street” specials. That’s in addition to the previously announced titles exiting HBO Max this month, including all eight of the original “Harry Potter” films. The latest HBO Max purge comes after the service in recent weeks quietly removed six Warner Bros. films and HBO shows such as “Camping,” “Vinyl,” “Mrs. Fletcher” and “Run.” Under Warner Bros. Discovery’s stewardship, HBO Max also recently killed Greg Berlanti’s DC series “Strange Adventures” and a “Wonder Twins” live-action movie. The content cutbacks at HBO Max appear to be part of WBD’s move to get streaming-content payment obligations for underperforming titles off its books.

Warner Bros. Discovery said the decision to pull the titles from HBO Max were tied to the pending combo of the platform with Discovery+. “As we work toward bringing our content catalogs together under one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both HBO Max and Discovery+,” the company said in a statement. “That will include the removal of some content from both platforms.” (variety)

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HBO Max is pulling another swathe of titles, particularly in the unscripted and animated fields. It comes after it emerged that the streamer would pull back on those genres ahead of combining the service with Discovery+ next week and laid off a number of staff in these spaces. [...]

 

Against the eventful corporate backdrop of Warner Bros Discovery trimming expenses and trying to convince Wall Street of its strategy, the company is offering limited-term discounts on streaming service HBO Max for both new and existing subscribers. Anyone signing up for a full-year plan by October 30 will pay $104.99 for the ad-free tier and $69.99 for the ad-supported one, a 30% savings compared with the going rates of $149.99 and $99.99. Compared with month-to-month pricing, which always runs higher than the year-at-a-time rate, the savings reach 42%. The deal is only for the first year and must be ordered through the HBO Max website or via distribution partners Roku, Google Play, Apple, and Amazon. (deadline)

My thoughts

Oh. My. God

 

It's one thing to cancel a show mid production or during its peak. It is still frustrating, it's just really makes the showrunner and the crews lose excitement, knowing that your hard work that cost you sweat and tears (and probably blood especially for live action stuff) is not going to meet your expectations and the show not going as what people on the team wanted because of cancellation order. But this? Saying this is anti consumer would be a great understatement. They are OUTRIGHT ignoring those shows thinking it doesn't exists, to the point where some of them have to face TOTAL PURGE and possibly becoming a lost media especially if the show doesn't have that much of a community (some of those even doesn't have physical copies or incomplete physical copies), and they even went as far as not giving a single f about the crews of these shows by silently doing this at first, expecting them not knowing what's gonna happen to their shows and not caring if the show is actually good and cares more about their wallet. Hell, some of the creator of the animated series even decided to embrace piracy because of this. This is waaaaaaay more than your average 'streaming is going to be a problem for stuff that you actually own' issue. This is consumer right issue, digital preservation issue, and possibly workplace issue

 

Sources

https://deadline.com/2022/08/hbo-max-titles-pulled-ellens-next-great-designer-the-not-too-late-show-with-elmo-1235094987/

https://variety.com/2022/digital/news/hbo-max-discount-offer-content-purge-1235344502/

https://deadline.com/2022/08/hbo-max-offers-discounts-up-to-42-percent-to-new-and-existing-subscribers-1235095645/

https://www.avclub.com/hbo-max-pulling-aquaman-summer-camp-island-infinity-tra-1849427103

https://variety.com/2022/tv/news/hbo-max-originals-removed-1235344286/

https://twitter.com/CNschedules/status/1560337191892668417

https://twitter.com/RegularTweetsUK/status/1560059123189825536 

 

 

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This is going to be a huge issue for many shows that are exclusives to streaming platforms.

Many of those shows aren't available in DVD/BD or for legal download, so I'm pretty sure that there's going to be a huge number of shows that will straight up have no legal alternative at all to watch them when the platform they're on remove it.

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Well, Warner just opened the piracy floodgates.

 

Hot tip: "scarcity" is the reason why people pirate content, first and foremost. If they can not find it by any legal means (no importing it from another country does not count, because often foreign countries will not ship things to the US due to parallel import laws if someone else has the rights to it. It's exactly the same reason why you can't watch CN or HBO Max in Canada, some other company has the rights in Canada and doesn't want US versions undermining their rights.) then piracy is the go-to, especially in foreign countries that are blocked from watching the US content on the US site.

 

They should put this stuff back up immediately unless the intent is to shut down HBO Max entirely. Because I can assure you that the second the pirates saw this, they started downloading everything that is being removed, if they had not already done so.

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Only subscribed for Raised by wolves, when they axed the series, i canceled my subscription.

11 minutes ago, Kisai said:

if they had not already done so.

pirates already downloaded every episodes on day 1, with or without this news.

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holy fuck.

i thank god i have 'acquired' some of these shows as shows like infinity train and close enough are dead good.

this is how shit gets a lost media wiki entry.

i would hate to see ok ko get an entry, it's from 2017 for fucks sake, it's not old enough to even be considered for an entry!

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35 minutes ago, Kisai said:

Well, Warner just opened the piracy floodgates.

 

Hot tip: "scarcity" is the reason why people pirate content, first and foremost. If they can not find it by any legal means (no importing it from another country does not count, because often foreign countries will not ship things to the US due to parallel import laws if someone else has the rights to it. It's exactly the same reason why you can't watch CN or HBO Max in Canada, some other company has the rights in Canada and doesn't want US versions undermining their rights.) then piracy is the go-to, especially in foreign countries that are blocked from watching the US content on the US site.

 

They should put this stuff back up immediately unless the intent is to shut down HBO Max entirely. Because I can assure you that the second the pirates saw this, they started downloading everything that is being removed, if they had not already done so.

 

22 minutes ago, SupaKomputa said:

Only subscribed for Raised by wolves, when they axed the series, i canceled my subscription.

pirates already downloaded every episodes on day 1, with or without this news.

Oh this time it's even crazier. Infinity Train Discord and Subreddit even allowed links of episode files (again. They used to have link of the episode before they decided to become discord partner) and they began to dump every media they could get including spotify release of the soundtracks and some even managed to recover the HD version of the show pilot. As for the DVD situation and other shows, I don't know that much other than Mao Mao also got removed, but at least for now there are no scalping situation and 3rd party options are still available 

 

also it looks like HBO Max now disabled comments 

 

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Moved to Off Topic. TV shows being cancelled is not Tech News.

 

Tech News means news regarding technology or gaming. Please don't post topics in this forum that don't have a strong relation to technology/games.

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Oh hey, a wild sprig appeared,

Anyway, back on topic, wow, this is terrible.

If you think I'm wrong, correct me. If I've offended you in some way tell me what it is and how I can correct it. I want to learn, and along the way one can make mistakes; Being wrong helps you learn what's right.

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1 hour ago, Spotty said:

Moved to Off Topic. TV shows being cancelled is not Tech News.

 

Tech News means news regarding technology or gaming. Please don't post topics in this forum that don't have a strong relation to technology/games.

I was talking more about the purge in general but eh, that's fine I guess. Was thinking that posting it on tech news would be fine since I saw some streaming service price discount/ reduction news and that one news about sony pulling off movies/ shows purchase on PS store. Sorry about that

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17 minutes ago, KeradSnake said:

I was talking more about the purge in general but eh, that's fine I guess. Was thinking that posting it on tech news would be fine since I saw some streaming service price discount/ reduction news and that one news about sony pulling off movies/ shows purchase on PS store. Sorry about that

The Sony one was relevant as they were revoking access to content that people already purchased. It was a discussion about the right to own digital goods vs licensing access to digital goods. A studio cancelling some TV shows is entertainment news.

 

Back on topic, With the Warner Bros & Discovery merger a few months ago they've been aggressively trimming the fat bringing down the costs of their streaming service (HBO Max). It's not surprising that they're axing a bunch of TV shows. I had not heard of a single TV show that is in the list of cancelled shows prior to this. Reality dating shows, Ellen Degeneres doing interior design (which is probably expensive asf to produce due to Ellen) and some kids cartoons probably aren't the major draw cards they need to compete against the other streaming platforms that produce original content like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple, Disney+, and so on. Don't get me wrong it's good to have that variety of content available on a streaming service, and for fans of those shows it probably sucks they're being cancelled, but they're not the "must watch" shows that are going to convince people to cancel their Netflix or Disney+ subscription to sign up to HBO Max instead. They need the next Game of Thrones if they want to attract subscribers away from the competitors.

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Ive read somewheres they want to merge Discovery+ with HBO Max. I wonder if a price increase is in the works as well. The fact is Im not liking what Im see. Between this merger, Disney deciding to raise prices as well as do the ad tier bullshit and Netflix pushing ad supported as well, its a dark age for streaming. Nord VPN may need to upgrade its network because I have a feeling an age of the Jolly Roger is upon us. 

I just want to sit back and watch the world burn. 

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7 hours ago, Spotty said:

They need the next Game of Thrones if they want to attract subscribers away from the competitors.

Laterally, a new game of thrones, coming this sunday. 

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12 hours ago, KeradSnake said:

It's one thing to cancel a show mid production or during its peak. It is still frustrating, it's just really makes the showrunner and the crews lose excitement, knowing that your hard work that cost you sweat and tears (and probably blood especially for live action stuff) is not going to meet your expectations and the show not going as what people on the team wanted because of cancellation order. But this? Saying this is anti consumer would be a great understatement. They are OUTRIGHT ignoring those shows thinking it doesn't exists, to the point where some of them have to face TOTAL PURGE and possibly becoming a lost media especially if the show doesn't have that much of a community (some of those even doesn't have physical copies or incomplete physical copies), and they even went as far as not giving a single f about the crews of these shows by silently doing this at first, expecting them not knowing what's gonna happen to their shows and not caring if the show is actually good and cares more about their wallet.

Cancelling a show at it's peak?
This is true and it's really not so different from when Venture Brothers got the axe from Adult Swim, except in their case it was a dumbassed move by some dumbass exec in a suit, plain and simple - I have no other reasonable/logical explanation for it.
In that instance they (The dumbass) were probrably trying to get new episodes done for each new season which was NOT how the team making that series worked - Every other year or three was the schedule and the effort given produced the quality of it's content.

However for profit's sakes, that or even it's high ratings just wasn't good enough if it didn't make their bank account grow like a weed on steroids, so the dumbass exec canned it.

As for these shows I can't say I really know anything about them because they simply aren't what I watch.
I can say this is not the first, nor the last of such.

As for "Piracy" as it's being put I've noted sometimes when a series is cancelled it completely disappears and that maybe why some are making moves, not to really pirate it so much as to preserve it so it doesn't just go away.

I'm not saying or advocating this is right or even justifyable, that's just what I believe is hapening here from what I've seen here and from the sources listed.
 

"If you ever need anything please don't hesitate to ask someone else first"..... Nirvana
"Whadda ya mean I ain't kind? Just not your kind"..... Megadeth
Just remember, speaking of things being "All Inclusive", Hell itself is too.

 

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On 8/19/2022 at 7:50 PM, Donut417 said:

Ive read somewheres they want to merge Discovery+ with HBO Max. I wonder if a price increase is in the works as well. The fact is Im not liking what Im see. Between this merger, Disney deciding to raise prices as well as do the ad tier bullshit and Netflix pushing ad supported as well, its a dark age for streaming. Nord VPN may need to upgrade its network because I have a feeling an age of the Jolly Roger is upon us. 

I don't think there was a plan to increase price for the subscription, not even during investor call back in early August. And oh boi, it's already happening: 

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Oh this time it's even crazier. Infinity Train Discord and Subreddit even allowed links of episode files (again. They used to have link of the episode before they decided to become discord partner) and they began to dump every media they could get including spotify release of the soundtracks and some even managed to recover the HD version of the show pilot. As for the DVD situation and other shows, I don't know that much

Hell, the scalping situation even already begin for Infinity Train DVD. It took only a few hours after its removal for someone to list Book 1 DVD for 600 bucks (originally $7 - 10 and Book 2 DVD for 225 bucks (originally $10 - 17) on ebay

 

On 8/19/2022 at 5:01 PM, Spotty said:

Don't get me wrong it's good to have that variety of content available on a streaming service, and for fans of those shows it probably sucks they're being cancelled, but they're not the "must watch" shows that are going to convince people to cancel their Netflix or Disney+ subscription to sign up to HBO Max instead. They need the next Game of Thrones if they want to attract subscribers away from the competitors.

The live action shows in the list? Maybe not all of them are must watch. But the animated series, especially Close Enough and Infinity Train which is was one of the big animated shows in HBO Max (especially Close Enough since it's basically spiritual successor of Regular Show), those have huge fanbase and actually did numbers. And those Sesame Street content, lets just say Sesame Street is sacred title, it's a big old player in simple watch and have fun, all audience media, not just children audiences. And removing those means they're not only losing their big names, but they also losing subscription (or potential subscription) numbers. Even with House of Dragons, they would still lose a lot because when they're done with it, what are they gonna do? What if they want to take a break from live action shows or looking for other shows, only for when they're asking or looking for recommendations on the internet, they got answers that 'welp this show along with these shows is removed and they're planning to do it to bunch of shows later down the road, we just don't know who's next, and good luck thinking about physical copy of some of these shows because either they're streaming exclusives or even if they had one, they're already pulled out'? That's obviously going to add concern to people who wants to subscribe or continue their subscription and thus keeping subscribers away from HBO Max

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UPDATE

 

So apparently they still haven't removed Close Enough, at least not on Netflix (although they only have two season in there): 

image.thumb.png.fe9ce4d02848b426dc4c6a919ae1e9d7.png

 

Also Owen Dennis (creator of Infinity Train) recently talked about what's going on: https://owendennis.substack.com/p/so-uh-whats-going-on-with-infinity

 

- Pretty much confirmed from various showrunner that got their show purged that they were not told and Owen also confirmed it:

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I had no idea it was coming, neither did any other show creator I’ve talked with, nor any of their representatives. People have been working behind the scenes for days now trying to figure out what’s going on. A thousand phone calls, texts, and emails have been sent, but the problem is that the entirety of Warner and Discovery is undergoing a merger.

- Thank God the show is still available in some services. Also apparently Warner assured that the show will not be removed from any pay-per-season/episode services. So there's a chance this also applies to shows that also already have 'backup' in other services, even the ones on the purge list:

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Because of all this confusion, I thought I’d share what I know as of today, Saturday, August 20. So far, everything related to or mentioning Infinity Train has been removed from: 
- HBOMax
- Cartoon Network
- HBOMax and Cartoon Network’s Twitter accounts
- HBOMax and Cartoon Network’s Youtube accounts
- All music streaming services

 

Currently, it is still available on:
- iTunes
- Amazon Prime
- Vudu
- Google Play
- Youtube

 

I do not know how long it will stay on any of those services. No one does. As of yesterday evening, I was assured by Warner that it would not be taken down from any pay-per-season/episode services.

- His show (at least. Not much info about the others) is not being used for tax write off loophole that people associated with Batgirl and Scoob!: Holiday Haunt, but he wasn't sure if this going to holds up until September, which is the end date for the tax write off:

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I was also assured late yesterday evening that the show is not being used for that tax write off loophole that is now so overwhelmingly associated with Batgirl and Scoob!: Holiday Haunt. Will this continue to be true? I also don’t know, but the end date for the tax write off is the beginning of September, so maybe that will give us a hint.

This one's the important part. Apparently the order was made from Discovery. Neither CN nor HBO Max wants this, sort of. They want to give show creators and artists some explanation and according to some sources this wasn't supposed to happen until sometime in the next week. But Discovery doesn't give a single F and decided to do the purge shortly after the list was spread. CN already warned them but they didn't listen:

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No idea. I’m told from various sources that this wasn’t supposed to happen until next week sometime so that Cartoon Network/HBOMax/etc could have time to tell all the show creators and artists what’s going on. That’s obviously not what happened, and now this is where that disorganization has gotten us. Cartoon Network warned them not to do this as it would hurt relationships with creators and talent, but they clearly do not care what any of this looks like publicly, much less about how we feel about it.

 

Why did they do this? No one knows, but we do know it was a direct order from Discovery, and it’s about saving money somehow. The general consensus is that it has something to do with paying animators and artists their royalties that they’re owed for their work.

- There's also possibility that this also resulted in cut off of animator/artist royalties (which go directly to the unions to pay for healthcare) and also actor/music royalties, which definitely hurts the people who worked on a show:

Quote

Our pay is not complete without the ongoing royalties. Those royalties aren’t paid directly to the artists, they actually go to our union to pay for our healthcare. So not paying artists royalties on their work means they are indirectly defunding our healthcare. This also means that music and actor royalties will stop. For reference, the first quarter of this year I made $388.45 off of royalties from voicing One-One. We’re not talking about a whole lot of money here, that’s the equivalent of the studio accidentally buying an extra office chair. CNBC has estimated that this will likely save Discovery somewhere in the tens of millions of dollars. A very small drop in the bucket of the 3 billion that David Zaslov has said he wants save by 2023.

- People from the industry have tried to reach out to the people at HBO Max who have better understanding about what CNBC state as 'Everything getting pulled from HBO Max was infrequently watched, according to people familiar with the matter' for three days, with no result:

Quote

CNBC also says “Everything getting pulled from HBO Max was infrequently watched, according to people familiar with the matter.” First off, no one is familiar with the matter, because the entire industry has been trying to reach people that are familiar with the matter for three days and haven’t been able to do so. That said, it’s hard to believe that Shock Corridor, Mystery of the Wax Museum, The X From Outer Space, Ice Station Zema, Red Sonja or Captain Blood, while all fantastic movies in their own rights, are being “frequently watched”. So clearly, it’s not frequency, therefore it must be something else.

 

However, if they WERE able to find someone familiar with the matter and it WAS about frequency, Discovery has failed to show statistics or provide what metrics they’re using. By all publicly available metrics, Infinity Train was in the 91st percentile in children’s media, at it’s height* was 17x more popular than the average TV show, as of yesterday evening was #1, #2, #3, and #5 on itunes for kids and family, and in the top 20 on iTunes overall.

 

Or maybe it was underperforming. No way to know for sure, as they haven’t provided anyone with the actual numbers or metrics they’re using, not even their own shareholders.

*iirc, I’m not gonna pay for a parrot analytics account to double check what it was a year+ ago just for a newsletter.

- Some execs apparently is also disappointed with this decision. Given that there's recently four known execs got fired (although in different network), this makes sense: https://deadline.com/2022/08/warner-bros-discovery-eliminates-four-top-execs-at-own-1235096598/

Quote

I think the way that Discovery went about this is incredibly unprofessional, rude, and just straight up slimy. I think most everyone who makes anything feels this way. Across the industry, talent is mad, agents are mad, lawyers and managers are mad, even execs at these companies are mad. I can’t think of a single person who works in animation and entertainment that, when you bring this all up, doesn’t say “What the fuck are they doing? How do they plan to have anyone ever want to work with them again?”

 

Because why would we? What is the point of making something, spending years working on it, putting in nights and weekends doing their terrible notes, losing sleep and not seeing our families, if it’s just going to be taken away and shot in the backyard? It’s so incredibly discouraging and they’re definitely not going to be getting their best work out of whoever decides to stay.

- And lastly, Owen warned the fans not to doxx the execs, which apparently it did happen:

Quote

First off, I’ve been told people are posting addresses of the executives in charge of this decision online. Do NOT do that! It is dangerous. You have no idea who is reading what you’re typing at any given moment and what that could motivate them to do. I’m telling you, I’ve restricted how much I interact with fans in general for a reason. I’ve met a few people that are right on the edge and they project all of their issues onto a show I made or onto me. It can get very weird, and you have no idea what they’re going to do.

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5 hours ago, KeradSnake said:

The live action shows in the list? Maybe not all of them are must watch. But the animated series, especially Close Enough and Infinity Train which is was one of the big animated shows in HBO Max (especially Close Enough since it's basically spiritual successor of Regular Show), those have huge fanbase and actually did numbers. And those Sesame Street content, lets just say Sesame Street is sacred title, it's a big old player in simple watch and have fun, all audience media, not just children audiences. And removing those means they're not only losing their big names, but they also losing subscription (or potential subscription) numbers.

I was reading another article about this last night that discussed their rationale behind removing the shows they did. 

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/19/heres-why-hbo-max-is-pulling-dozens-of-films-and-tv-series-from-its-streaming-platform.html?

 

The shows they're removing are mostly reality TV shows and children's shows. They're dumping their reality TV shows because they're getting access to a much larger catalogue of (probably better) reality TV shows from the discovery networks. They're dumping the children shows because they aren't getting viewers.

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Most of what HBO Max is pulling is either reality TV or kids and family content. (A full list of removed content is at the end of this story).

HBO Max will get its unscripted content from Discovery, which will add nearly its entire catalog of reality TV, including from HGTV, Food Network and Animal Plant, to the combined service next year. HBO Max laid off 14% of its staff earlier this week, including many from its unscripted division.

The move away from kids and family content is new. HBO Max executives decided viewers are simply not going to the service to watch kids programming. Even “Sesame Street,” which HBO Max acquired in 2019 in a five-year deal, isn’t pulling strong numbers, according to people familiar with the matter. That prompted the removal of “The Not-Too-Late Show with Elmo” and the removal of about 200 back episodes of the show, the people said.

HBO specializes in adult-themed content that skews toward a male audience. Discovery specializes in adult-themed reality content that is watched by more women. While the combined services hit both adult gender demographics, they don’t target kids. Instead of adding more content to fill that niche, Warner Bros. Discovery has decided to move away from the category with its future investment budget, said the people.

 

As for why they're removing some of those shows from the platform instead of just no longer producing new series, it's to do with the way they pay for the shows based on viewership metrics. I guess they negotiated a lower upfront cost for the content in exchange for the production/cast getting a cut of ongoing revenue from the streaming service. It's not uncommon for big actors to take a lower pay in exchange for a % of revenue from the show/movie (apparently the friends cast still make millions a year from networks showing reruns). If the shows aren't attracting a lot of new subscribers then it might be cheaper to just remove those shows than continue paying those ongoing costs.

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While HBO Max already paid for the production of these shows, it’s still on the hook for residuals, including so-called back-end payments to cast, crew and writers, based on long-term viewership metrics.

By removing these films and shows, especially the ones HBO Max created rather than licensed, executives can cut expenses immediately.

 

The content eliminations in total will save “tens of millions of dollars,” 

 

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