While it’s unclear how much HBO Max will cost for many, AT&T has said that it will offer the service for free to 10 million of its customers that already subscribe to HBO.
AT&T COO John Stankey told Reuters that the 10 million in the U.S. who will get HBO Max for free are a portion of the customers that currently get HBO and pay for an AT&T product, including wireless service or DirecTV.
In addition to the confirmed news from AT&T, Reuters also cited inside sources on some of AT&T’s other plans and expectations for the HBO Max. The company reportedly wants HBO Max to have 80 million global subscribers (including 50 million in the U.S.) by 2025. The company also plans to add live programming and a less-expensive ad-supported option to the service in 2021.
AT&T has a WarnerMedia press and analyst day scheduled for next week, and HBO Max will likely be a big topic of discussion. Competitors like Apple and Disney have also held big events this year to introduce their streaming video services, Apple TV+ and Disney+, both of which are launching in November.
One particular area of focus for HBO Max next week could revolve around pricing. Previous reports have suggested that HBO Max will be priced the same or slightly more than HBO and HBO Now. UBS analyst John Hodulik said that his firm previously believed that HBO Max would be priced at a slight premium to HBO. But now the firm believes that competitive pressure and the need for scale will drive prices down to around $12 per month or $8 with advertising. Of course, linear HBO subscribers would likely have a bone to pick with HBO Max subscribers paying less.
“Distribution agreements complicate the pricing decision however and it is unclear whether lower pricing for Max would trigger rate resets on existing linear subs,” Hodulik wrote.
Now, however, it appears that AT&T has found a way to keep some legacy HBO subscribers happy regardless of the pricing for HBO Max.