Warner Bros. Discovery is increasing the price of an HBO Max subscription for the first time. As of today, new users on the ad-free plan will pay $16 per month. Existing subscribers, who are currently paying $15 per month, will have to pony up an extra buck starting on their next billing cycle, but not before February 11th.
“This price increase of one dollar will allow us to continue to invest in providing even more culture-defining programming and improving our customer experience for all users,” WBD told Variety in a statement. It's not clear whether the price of the ad-supported plan is going up. That currently costs $10 per month.
HBO Max debuted in May 2020, so it has gone almost three years without a price increase. WBD is planning to merge HBO Max and Discovery+ this spring, so the timing of the price hike is intriguing, given that the company hasn't indicated how much the combined service will cost or even the name of it. A report last month suggested that the fused streaming service may simply be called "Max."
In the meantime, subscribers might be forgiven for feeling aggrieved about the price increase. Since WarnerMedia and Discovery merged to create WBD last year, the company has been slashing costs at HBO Max. It has canceled some projects, removed titles it owns from the platform and canned unreleased exclusive movies in favor of tax writeoffs. Despite adding more recent shows, films and other content to the platform in recent months, there's a case to be made that WBD is charging more for less.