HBO Max, AT&T’s new subscription streaming service, is due to launch in about two weeks into an economic environment that could challenge its relatively high price.
When asked how the service’s $14.99/month cost will go over with consumers during a pandemic that’s caused high unemployment rates and economic uncertainty, AT&T CFO John Stephens defended the price tag. During a MoffettNathanson investor conference today, he said the service has thousands more hours of content with much broader appeal than HBO, which also costs $14.99.
“As such, I think it’s at the right price point and we’ll see how that plays out. We’ll try to do things differently with regards to bundling and we’ll do things differently as we roll out more content,” he said. “We’re going to be smart about it. We’re going to follow it. I’m sure we’ll make adjustments and add things in or subtract things out, whatever the case may be.”
HBO Max will be priced higher than many of its competitors. Netflix's most popular plan costs $12.99/month, Disney+ costs $6.99/month and Hulu costs $5.99/month with commercials.
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HBO Max is launching on May 27 with a slate of originals that includes “Love Life,” starring Anna Kendrick; documentary series “On the Record;” reality competition series “Craftopia;” the new “Looney Tunes Cartoons;” and “The Not Too Late Show with Elmo.” The service will also include the entire HBO service along with licensed programs including “Friends,” “The Big Bang Theory,” “Doctor Who,” “Rick and Morty,” “The Bachelor,” “Sesame Street,” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” The service will also include a library of more than 2,000 films in the first year.
HBO Max will be included at no extra charge for certain AT&T customers on plans including AT&T Unlimited Elite wireless, Internet 1000, AT&T TV Premier (which is coming soon after the HBO Max launch), AT&T TV Now Max, DirecTV Premier, U-verse U400 and U450, and for people who currently pay for HBO through AT&T.
HBO Max has also set distribution agreements with providers including YouTube TV, Hulu and Charter so their HBO subscribers will get automatic access to HBO Max when it launches.
AT&T expects HBO Max to have 50 million domestic subscribers and 75-90 million premium subscribers by year-end in 2025 across the U.S., Latin America and Europe.