There are many streaming service sales throughout the year, but the fall is usually a very good time to lock in some of the best prices on streaming. While we don’t yet know how this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday will play out, there are already some indications that companies might be holding back on streaming service sales for the remainder of this year.
Throughout 2023 in general, a lot of the talk from companies invested in streaming is the tightening of belts. In some cases, this has resulted in layoffs, the removal of content in a bid to license it to other services, and, of course, price increases.
Another way in which companies might be now looking to tighten their belts is by not offering such great discounts for the remainder of the year. As an example, it is two weeks before Halloween and Shudder has yet to launch a Halloween-themed deal. Last year, Shudder was offering a 31% discount on the price of its annual plan, lowering the cost of 12 months down to just $40.
Whether strategically or not, AMC, who owns Shudder, recently began offering an ad-supported AMC+ plan, making it possible to sign up and access Shudder content for just $4.99 a month.
This may just be a coincidence. but we also seem to be seeing something similar play out with Max right now. From August through until October 30 last year, Warner Bros. Discovery was offering the option to save up to 40% on an HBO Max plan, reducing the cost of 12 months down to as little as $69.99.
Not only has Warner Bros. Discovery yet to launch a similar deal this year, but it has recently launched its new B/R Sports Add-on. This premium upgrade unlocks access to select live sports events, including MLB, NHL, NBA, NCAA Men’s March Madness, and U.S. Soccer, and what’s notably here is that Max is currently offering the add-on for free to Max subscribers through the start of next year.
In the case of both the new ad-supported AMC+ tier and the new B/R Sports Add-on, it could be argued that AMC and Warner Bros. Discovery are offering deals without actually offering deals. After all, ad-supported AMC+ lowers the cost compared to last year for those signing up, and the B/R Sports Add-on offers extra value for a limited time for those signing up.
Of course, this all could change in the coming weeks and as we get closer to Black Friday week, but these two companies have looked to offer their big deals ahead of Black Friday in the past. As a result, this year (so far) appears to be unraveling a little differently.
What will be a good test is Hulu. For the past few years Hulu has offered a very good deal for Black Friday, lowering the cost down to as little as $1.99 a month for 12 months. With the recent price increase hitting all of Disney’s services, including Hulu, it remains to be seen if a new Hulu deal will be available this year, and at as low of a price as past years.
If there is no Hulu deal by the start of Black Friday week, then that could be seen as yet another indicator that the current belt-tightening by streaming services now extends to major deals.