Warner Bros. Discovery is eager to lock in HBO Max customers on annual plans — even as the streamer is culling dozens of titles in a cost-cutting effort.
On Thursday, HBO Max launched a new limited-time discount for new and returning customers, offering 30% off in the first year for users who prepay for a yearly subscription plan. Under the deal terms, you can sign up for the HBO Max no-ads yearly plan for $104.99 for the first year (versus $149.99 regularly) or the HBO Max with ads yearly plan for $69.99 for the first year (versus $99.99 regularly). Compared with the streamer’s regular month-to-month pricing, the discounted offers represent a 42% savings.
The discounted annual plan offers currently run through Oct. 30, 2022. The special offers are available only in the U.S. to customers who sign up on hbomax.com or through the following participating subscription providers: Roku, Google Play, Apple and Amazon. After the 12-month discount period, the subscriptions will auto-renew at the then-current subscription price for the yearly plan selected.
Meanwhile, also Thursday, HBO Max said at least 36 more titles will be leaving the service this week. That includes 20 original HBO Max shows, including teen drama “Generation,” animated anthology series “Infinity Train” and kids’ show “Summer Camp Island,” as well as several “Sesame Street” specials. That’s in addition to the previously announced titles exiting HBO Max this month, including all eight of the original “Harry Potter” films.
The latest HBO Max purge comes after the service in recent weeks quietly removed six Warner Bros. films and HBO shows such as “Camping,” “Vinyl,” “Mrs. Fletcher” and “Run.” Under Warner Bros. Discovery’s stewardship, HBO Max also recently killed Greg Berlanti’s DC series “Strange Adventures” and a “Wonder Twins” live-action movie.
The content cutbacks at HBO Max appear to be part of WBD’s move to get streaming-content payment obligations for underperforming titles off its books.
Warner Bros. Discovery said the decision to pull the titles from HBO Max were tied to the pending combo of the platform with Discovery+. “As we work toward bringing our content catalogs together under one platform, we will be making changes to the content offering available on both HBO Max and Discovery+,” the company said in a statement. “That will include the removal of some content from both platforms.”
Starting in the U.S. in the summer of 2023, WBD plans to launch an integrated HBO Max/Discovery+ streaming service. It has not reveal pricing info or how the change will specifically affect existing subscribers of each of the services.
For the second quarter of 2022, Warner Bros. Discovery did not break out the number of HBO or HBO Max subscribers, the company’s first earnings period that included the WarnerMedia properties acquired from AT&T. Total HBO Max, HBO and Discovery+ subscribers in Q2 were 92.1 million, up 1.7 million from 90.4 million the prior quarter — however, U.S. and Canada streaming subs declined by 300,000 in the June quarter.