With HBO Max Raising Its Price, How Much Will Combined ‘Max’ Service Cost?
If you’ve got any extra cash left over from the holidays, beware: HBO Max is going to need some of it. The service announced on Thursday that it is raising its ad-free subscription cost from $14.99 per month to $15.99.
The move to raise prices at HBO Max shouldn’t be surprising, considering recent comments from the company’s streaming chief. In November, Warner Bros. Discovery streaming president JB Perrette noted that HBO Max had not raised subscription costs since it first launched in 2020. Perrette said then that the company had the “opportunity” to raise prices given rising subscription costs elsewhere in the streaming market.
What is slightly surprising is the timing of the announced price raise. HBO Max is set to combine with WBD’s other streaming service discovery+ sometime this spring, and it was assumed by many in the industry that the subscription cost for the service would be rising at that time.
The new service, which will probably simply be called “Max,” is still likely to see its subscription cost rise above the current cost of an HBO Max subscription. While no pricing details have been announced yet for the unified service, and it very possibly could retain the new HBO Max pricing structure, considering that it will be adding the massive library from the lean-back, lifestyle side of the company to the expansive prestige offerings from HBO, it should not be a surprise if the price does climb at least a little.
As of now, signing up for ad-free versions of discovery+ and HBO Max costs a total of $22.98 per month, and it’s hard to imagine WBD giving customers a huge discount for a combined service that offers more content and an improved user interface. The ad-supported versions of the streamers come in at $14.98 currently.
Given that, a subscription to ad-free Max will probably run users at least $20 per month. That would put it at the same level as Netflix’s Premium tier, which includes streams in UltraHD and additional simultaneous streams and devices that can download content. HBO Max’s $15.99 rate is now more expensive than Netflix’s $15.49 per month ad-free Standard and Basic plans. Its Basic with Ads option runs $6.99, $3 less than HBO Max’s ad-supported rate.
While nothing has been confirmed in terms of the pricing for WBD’s combined streamer, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility to imagine that Max will end up as the most expensive streaming service in the United States. However, raising prices now ahead of a highly likely second price increase when the services merge runs the risk of alienating users, but as with all things under the new WBD regime, it’s all about making the most of the bottom line. The newly announced price increase not only will bring in additional money in the short term, but it will also soften the ground for further increases in the future.
Max is a subscription video streaming service that gives access to the full HBO library, along with exclusive Max Originals. There are hubs for content from TLC, HGTV, Food Network, Discovery, TCM, Cartoon Network, Travel Channel, ID, and more. Watch hit series like “The Last of Us,” “House of the Dragon,” “Succession,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and more. The service changed its name from “HBO Max” on May 23, 2023.
Max has three tiers, an ad-supported plan for $9.99 an ad-free plan for $15.99, and the ultimate tier that includes 4K for $19.99.
All Max subscribers will get the full libraries of shows like “Friends”, “The Big Bang Theory”, “South Park”, “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”, “The West Wing”, and more.
You can choose to add Max as a subscription through Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, or other Live TV providers.