HBO Max undercuts Netflix with promo pricing

AT&T is looking to fly out of the gates with upcoming streamer HBO Max by offering a promotional discount that brings it below the price of Netflix.

With less than a month until launch, the operator said that customers who sign up to the streamer ahead of launch will receive a 20% discount at US$11.99 per month for 12 months. The streamer will regularly cost US$14.99.

Eligible users – new customers and ‘returning eligible’ HBO Now subscribers – will be entitled to the discount rate which puts it at a dollar cheaper than Netflix’s standard plan and on a par with Hulu’s ad-free tier.

Those who sign up will receive instant access to HBO Now and then will be automatically upgraded to HBO Max on May 27 when the SVOD launches.

There are some caveats to the offer though. Customers have to purchase the package directly from WarnerMedia and not through a distributor like Apple or Google. By extension, existing HBO Now customers who pay for their subscription through such third parties will miss out on the promo.

AT&T also said that there will only be “a limited number of subscriptions to this HBO Now/HBO Max promotional offer” so there is the possibility that the pricing could run out well ahead of launch.

Despite taking a hit with the offer, AT&T is still better off for users subscribing this way than through third parties, with Google and Apple both taking a 30% cut of any transaction on their respective app stores.

The move could be considered hostile, but avoiding handling subscriptions is a common practice in the industry, with the likes of Disney, Netflix and Spotify all pointing their prospective customers to their websites.

HBO Max will launch in the US on May 27 with over 10,000 hours of content from WarnerMedia’s library of films and series including Friends, South Park, the DC Universe and, of course, HBO.

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