HBO Max offers big discount promo to attract subscribers

WarnerMedia said that HBO added 1.7 million new subscribers through the first half of 2020. (HBO Max)

HBO Max has launched a heavily discounted promotional rate for a limited time to attract subscribers to its recently launched streaming video service.

The deal shaves 20% off HBO Max’s typical $14.99/month rate, taking it down to $11.99/month for one year. The offer is good for new and returning HBO Max subscribers but it’s only available from Sept. 4 until Sept. 25.

HBO Max’s regular price stands as one of the highest among major subscription streaming services but the promo price undercuts Netflix’s most popular plan priced at $12.99/month.

The promotion follows other recent deals for HBO Max. Cricket Wireless (which is owned by AT&T) is handing out promo codes to customers for free 30-day free trials to HBO Max, which is longer than the typical 7-day free trial the service provides. The promotion requires that customers be new to HBO Max and that they haven’t previously redeemed free trials for HBO Max or HBO Now.

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In July, AT&T’s WarnerMedia segment touted the rollout of HBO Max during the second quarter and said that HBO added 1.7 million new subscribers through the first half of 2020, which helped it reach 36.3 million total subscribers and meet its target for the year.

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.

However, HBO Max’s subscriber growth has likely been held back somewhat by not having app distribution agreements with Amazon or Roku, two of the biggest streaming platforms. AT&T CEO John Stankey said that his company has “tried repeatedly” to make HBO Max available to all customers using Amazon Fire devices including customers who have purchased HBO through Amazon Prime Video Channels.

“Unfortunately, Amazon has taken an approach of treating HBO Max and its customers differently than how they’ve chosen to treat other services and their customers,” said Stankey during today’s earnings call. “We’re glad to have agreements in place with, among others, Apple TV and Google Chromecast to give customers the right to stream HBO Max on those devices.”

Amazon earlier this year said nearly 5 million HBO streamers currently access their subscription through Amazon’s Prime Video Channels. “Unfortunately, with the launch of HBO Max, AT&T is choosing to deny these loyal HBO customers access to the expanded catalog.”