HBO Max vs. Netflix: a look inside the streaming giants

Tyra Garrett, Reporter

When many think of streaming services, the first that comes to mind is Netflix. After transitioning from a DVD rental service, Netflix has been on top of the streaming market ever since 2007. In recent years, Netflix has suffered a decline not only in the stock market but in show and movie quality as well.

That is where HBO Max enters the picture. When HBO canceled its original streaming service HBO Go and announced the creation of HBO Max, many were skeptical about the longevity of the service, but ever since its launch on May 27, 2020, the service has consistently been releasing great original programming, while also having a fantastic selection of past shows and movies. 

While Netflix of course has had its successes when it comes to original programming, with hit shows like Stranger Things, Umbrella Academy, American Vandal, and many more taking over the pop culture scene. In recent years, Netflix has not been producing the highest quality of original content. Top shows are either canceled when they are at their peak, or they renew shows that fans have no interest in.

HBO Max, on the other hand, has been producing amazing originals time after time, seemingly making every one of their shows perfect. HBO Max shows like Succession, Euphoria, Genera+ion, and Our Flag Means Death proves that the new streaming service is serious about its brand. HBO Max is also creating content that is aimed toward the younger generations, as well as audiences that haven’t been represented in the past. Making relatable content for this demographic has proved to be beneficial for the service as it drives more people to subscribe to HBO Max based solely on the great representation. 

Now, what gets many to join these streaming platforms in the first place is the selection of movies and shows from the past and present. For almost Netflix’s entire existence they had been praised for their great selection. Because of the pandemic, HBO has gained an advantage over Netflix by releasing new movies that otherwise would be strictly released at movie theaters.

This gives viewers at home the option to watch big blockbuster hits from the comfort of their own homes. By the time those movies hit Netflix (if they even get added to the platform), they are outdated and don’t do as well. Another thing about Netflix’s selection that I noticed is that they tend to add and then unadd the same movies and shows in the span of years (maybe even months). One that comes to mind is the Back To The Future franchise, which was added last year but then got removed after only months of being on the service. HBO Max rarely removes stuff from their platform, and when they do they have a section dedicated to shows that will be getting removed soon.

One of the biggest things in my opinion that leads me to prefer HBO Max over Netflix is the way HBO releases its content. Netflix created their own style of releasing episodes for shows, that being releasing all the episodes in a season at once. This style, however, is ineffective and sometimes annoying. Releasing episodes weekly or daily like HBO Max does creates more hype for each episode and causes the viewer to want more and more.

A perfect example of this is when their hit show Euphoria had viewers talking about the new episodes almost every day until the next episode would debut. But when you release all the episodes at once, the hype can die in days and it’s almost as if the show didn’t exist after that one day. Netflix has been trying to fix this problem by releasing weekly episodes for a select few of their shows, but only news shows like The Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj. I think for Netflix to gain more subscribers again, they must go to the weekly episode releases for their hit shows.

With the recent rumors of Netflix upping its price even more and the possibility of advertisements being added to the platform, many are deciding to unsubscribe from Netflix altogether. In the first quarter of the year, Netflix lost 200,000 subscribers and is set to lose more than 2 million more in the next. While all of this occurs, HBO Max is gaining subscribers, adding 1.8 million more in their first-quarter report. HBO Max continues to favor their viewers instead of going against them like Netflix does, which is leading many to choose the new fan favorite. 

If in the long run HBO Max fails and Netflix still reigns supreme, I will be the first person to admit that I was wrong. But for now, it is looking like we are all witnessing the slow downfall of Netflix, and the uprising of the new streaming powerhouse HBO Max.