AT&T may price HBO Max the same as HBO Now – report

HBO Max
HBO Max will reportedly arrive in April 2020. (WarnerMedia)

John Stankey, chief of AT&T’s WarnerMedia division, is reportedly leaning toward giving the upcoming HBO Max streaming service the same price tag as a standard HBO subscription.

According to NBC News’ Dylan Byers, who cited sources with knowledge of Stankey’s discussions, HBO Max may cost $14.99 per month, the same as an HBO or HBO Now subscription. That potential price conflicts with earlier reports that WarnerMedia was considering pricing HBO Max between $15 to $18 per month.

Considering the prices charged by HBO Max’s major competitors – Netflix (between $9 and $15 per month), Hulu ($6 per month), Amazon Prime Video ($9 per month, or included with $12-per-month Prime membership) or the upcoming Disney+ ($7 per month) – it may make more sense for WarnerMedia to not go higher than HBO already charges.

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HBO Max’s rumored introductory price may be designed to add scale at first before adding incremental revenue. According to NBC News, Stankey wants a price for HBO Max that will retain existing HBO subscribers but also make the service more attractive to newcomers. Once subscribers are on board, AT&T will look into ways to raise prices gradually over time.

The report also suggests that Stankey is eyeing April 2020 as a tentative launch window for HBO Max.

The service will premiere with 10,000 hours of content. It will include HBO content alongside originals and programming from Warner Bros., New Line, DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth and Looney Tunes. The service will be the exclusive streaming home for “Friends,” which AT&T wrested away from Netflix by reportedly shelling out $85 million per year for a five-year agreement.

Exclusives to the platform include “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Pretty Little Liars,” along with new DC Entertainment series “Batwoman” and “Katy Keene.” HBO Max originals include “Dune: The Sisterhood,” from director Denis Villeneuve; “Tokyo Vice;” “The Flight Attendant,” which will star Kaley Cuoco; “Love Life,” starring Anna Kendrick; and “Gremlins,” an animated series from Warner Bros. Animation and Amblin Entertainment.

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