HBO Max is now officially streaming, offering subscribers access to a wealth of content, including the existing HBO catalog. HBO Max has taken its time in becoming available and represents a major bet by AT&T and WarnerMedia.
Ever since AT&T finalized its Time Warner acquisition, it had been clear that the company planned to launch a new streaming service. While those ‘WarnerMedia streaming service’ reports came through in 2018, it was not until July of last year when the service was officially announced as HBO Max. Since then, interested parties have been waiting for the service to go live with initial expectations having been a late 2019 launch.
Although HBO Max has taken longer than originally expected to go live, it now has. Those interested in subscribing to the service can do so for $14.99 per month with a seven-day free trial, following a pre-order promotion that offered HBO subscriptions at a reduced $11.99 per month for the first year.
While not as cheap as the pre-order price, $14.99 per month is the same price AT&T currently charges for a standard HBO subscription, even though the difference between the two services couldn’t be any clearer. HBO Max not only comes with all of the content available through the standard HBO service, but also a variety of content pulled from many of the other brands owned by WarnerMedia, including Warner Bros. and Turner.
Priced high, but banking on content
Even though HBO Max is priced exactly the same as the existing HBO service, it is still a high-priced single subscription for consumers. After all, while all of the existing HBO subscribers are likely to immediately migrate over to HBO Max, AT&T and WarnerMedia are focused on attracting new subscribers and that’s where all the additional channel brands come in.
The problem AT&T and WarnerMedia faces is convincing potential subscribers that the service is worth a $15 per month payment on top of their current subscriptions. This is not only at a time when more people are price-conscious due to the effects of COVID-19, but also when much of the momentum in the streaming market is with cheaper – and in some cases, free – services.
For example, the last two major streaming services to launch were Disney+ and Quibi, with both of these services launching for less than $7 per month. Not to mention, Peacock is currently being readied for a nationwide launch and that too will be available in multiple pricing tiers, with even the most expensive costing just $10 per month.
In contrast, HBO Max arrives to market priced higher than most single subscriptions, including the standard $12.99 price Netflix currently charges. While HBO Max does have the potential (and content vault) to back up the price tag, the issue is convincing the average consumer to hit the subscription button to begin with.
Source: HBO Max