February 5, 2023

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HBO Max has set its first price hike, increasing the monthly fee by $1

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Warner Bros. Discovery has increased the monthly price of HBO Max for the first time since its launch more than two years ago.

On Thursday, January 12, the price of a new HBO Max no-ad monthly subscription in the US will increase from $14.99 to $15.99 (plus applicable taxes). This is an increase of about 7%. Current HBO Max subscribers currently paying $14.99/month will see their monthly rate increase to $15.99/month effective on or after Saturday, February 11, 2023 for their next billing cycle.

“This one-dollar price increase will allow us to continue investing in delivering more culture-defining programming and improving our customer experience for all users,” the company said in a statement.

The price hike comes as Warner Bros. Discovery, formed through its 2022 WarnerMedia acquisition of Warner Bros. Discovery, has made a series of content cutbacks aimed at reducing costs. Among these: HBO Max removed multiple exclusive film titles and original series and 200 older “Sesame Street” episodes, and canceled HBO Max’s original series “Minx” (as opposed to a Season 2 renewal) and HBO’s “The Nevers.” HBO Max also removed 256 classic “Looney Tunes” shorts and three seasons of “The Flintstones.”

HBO Max launched in May 2020 for $14.99 per month, when it was part of AT&T-owned WarnerMedia. In June 2021, the company launched an ad-supported HBO Max plan priced at $9.99/month; It was not immediately clear if the price of that package would also increase.

Warner Bros. Discovery previously hinted that HBO Max price hikes are coming. In November, JB Perrett, president and CEO of Global Streaming and Games, told investors that the company had an “opportunity” to raise the ad-free price of HBO Max. By 2023, he said, “it will be three years since the pricing transition, which we see as an opportunity, especially in this environment… We believe ad-free pricing has some advantages for us. [HBO Max] service and we can probably go north of where prices are today.”

Meanwhile, the media conglomerate is preparing a merged HBO Max-Discovery+ platform, which will launch in the US in spring 2023. The company has yet to announce details on pricing, packaging or names — though the “Max” flagship is a contender at this point.

Warner Bros. Discovery said last month that the merger could cost it up to $3.5 billion in content impairment and ride-off charges for development.

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