I created an HBO Max account to watch Wonder Woman 1984 the day it was released. Two disappointing hours about wishing rocks later, I set my subscription to expire at the end of that month, and when they asked for a reason, I told them “$14.99 is too much of an ask.”
Many people must have told them the same thing, because WarnerMedia has responded. A new tier will be added to HBO Max’s pricing structure starting next month that lowers the cost to $9.99. You might ask what is missing…not much, really. Just the first-run movies, which WB has already stated will not be a feature past 2021 and expire after one month anyway. Other than that, everything is accessible. There is also the addition of something….advertising.
WB swears that the $10 tier will have the “lightest ad load in the streaming industry,” though we’ll see how long that lasts. It might be annoying to load up Infinity Train and hear “LMU EMUUUUUUUUU!!!! AND DOUG” instead, but it’s a price that must be paid. HBO shows are included in this service, because HBO is a stronger brand name than “Warner+” would be, and HBO shows are expensive to make. When HBO Max launched, the price of $15 was exactly the same as HBO Now, the previous service that just gave you HBO with none of the Max content. They could’ve raised the price higher, but had the foresight to realize no one would go for it in such a competitive market.
$10 is as cheap as HBO has ever been in its 50-year existence, and there’s a lot of quality content there. The only real downside is where WB plans to stick the ads….they came up with the idea to play them when you pause the shows. This is going to catch on and we’re all going to hate it. HBO Max with Ads will launch the first week of June.