When in doubt, bribe. That seems to be the message of HBO Max’s latest discount, a 30 percent price chop to its yearly subscriptions for new users that lands half a day after the streamer abruptly announced it would cut dozens more original shows and films from its service. Under the terms, new and returning customers can sign up for prepaid annual subscriptions to the service for either $104.99 (the no-ads plan) or $69.99 (the ad-supported plan) — compared to $149.99 and $99.99 for the plans’ regular pricing. The discount is just for the first year; the offer’s good until October 30, 2022, and available through the service’s website or its partners Roku, Google Play, Apple, and Amazon.
To the streamer’s credit, it’s a straightforward deal, and it could potentially save you up to 42 percent if you’re currently on a monthly plan, but its timing is interesting. The new Game of Thrones spinoff House of the Dragon debuts this week, so it could be a hedge against subscribers who sign up only to cancel once the season of the big-budget series ends. It also indicates Warner Bros. Discovery’s desire to juice some quick cash out of its flagship streamer in the form of annual sign-ups, amid a period of intense PR shellacking. HBO Max’s summer has been a scorcher: It laid off its unscripted-content staff, purged several titles off the service without warning, then purged more, canceled franchise movies mid-production, and endured rumors and an earnings call that the internet mobilized to mock. Warner Bros. Discovery at least seems to acknowledge the heat with this discount, though.