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HBO Max removes 36 movies and shows to cut costs, pivot, and de-clutter

Streaming platform HBO Max removed 36 movies and TV series by the end of the day on Friday, aiming to cut costs, pivot away from children's programming, and de-clutter the platform.

Content being removed includes teen drama Genera+ion, animated series Aquaman: King of Atlantis, and more than 200 episodes of Sesame Street, which HBO Max acquired in 2019.

Although none of the shows and movies being axed were drawing large audiences, the move will still save the company "tens of millions of dollars" in residual payments to cast, crew, and writers, two insiders told CNBC.

HBO Max is also moving away from kids' programming, which has underperformed, and aiming to avoid deluging users with obscure content — what one executive described as the "Netflix problem."

This news comes as HBO Max prepares to merge with Discovery+. "As we work toward bringing our content catalogues together under one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both" platforms, HBO Max said in a statement earlier this week. One such change was the cancelation of HBO Max original superhero flick Batgirl and the decision to take a tax write-off for the $90 million the streamer had dropped on the project.

Meanwhile, HBO Max is betting big on its Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon. According to Deadline, HBO Max spent $200 million making the show and another $100 million — HBO's biggest marketing campaign ever — promoting it. The series premieres Sunday.