New HBO Max to offer thousands of extra shows at no added cost
March 9, 2023 Updated Thu., March 9, 2023 at 7:09 p.m.
Warner Bros. Discovery will add thousands of titles to its flagship streaming service HBO Max – pulling from its library of unscripted lifestyle shows – without raising the price.
The company plans to charge $10 a month for the advertising-supported tier of the new service, which is expected to be named Max, and either $15 or $16 a month for the ad-free version, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. Those are the current prices for HBO Max.
Warner Bros. will also sell a new, higher-priced subscription for about $20 a month, offering better video quality and possibly other features, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal deliberations. The company is still working on the plans and it’s possible they’ll change.
Chief Executive Officer David Zaslav is betting the addition of Discovery’s reality programming will increase the number of people who want to pay for the service, which competes with Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon. Warner Bros. plans to rename the service, believing the HBO name turns off many potential subscribers.
Zaslav has been planning a new streaming service since he orchestrated the merger of WarnerMedia, parent of HBO and Warner Bros., with Discovery Communications, which owns several cable networks. Both companies had their own streaming services, HBO Max and Discovery+. The Discovery service will continue to operate.
In total, Warner Bros. Discovery has 96.1 million paying subscribers, most of whom get HBO Max. Zaslav has been critical of the previous regime’s approach to HBO Max, claiming the company spent too much money on programming and didn’t focus on profit. HBO shows receive the most awards of any TV network, but it trails Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon by tens of millions of customers.
Zaslav has reversed many company policies, including selling HBO Max via Amazon.com’s channel store, a supermarket for streaming services. He also renewed a deal to keep licensing HBO shows to Foxtel in Australia and U-Next in Japan.
Warner Bros. will unveil the plans for its streaming service at a press event in April and plans to introduce the service to the public in the following weeks.
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