With the addition of U.S. Soccer games and, at some point, NHL games on HBO Max, Warner Bros. Discovery announced they are raising the monthly price for the streaming service.
Starting in February, the ad-free portion of HBO Max will increase by $1 to $15.99 per month. New subscribers will see that change immediately while for current subscribers, it will be reflected in the billing cycle on or after February 11. This will be the first time the price has been raised since the launch of HBO Max back in May 2020.
In a statement, the company said, “This price increase of one dollar will allow us to continue to invest in providing even more culture-defining programming and improving our customer experience for all users.”
This comes at a rather pivotal time for the streaming service. HBO Max will begin live streaming sports next Tuesday, with the USWNT playing New Zealand in two friendlies. And while they won’t stream NHL games this season, that is on the horizon. Along with the upcoming merger of the HBO Max and Discovery+ apps, there is going to be more content available than ever before to justify a minimal price increase.
That being said, WBD has been under fire for canceling projects (like Batgirl) and pulling original content (like Westworld) off the service in order to take advantage of various tax breaks and avoiding paying residuals, among other cost-cutting efforts as a result of the Warner Bros. and Discovery merger. Even though it’s possible that already-produced content could be licensed to other streamers. it’s a rather tall order to get people on board with a price increase at the same time the service is canceling projects and removing content for cost-cutting reasons.