HBO Max Tries To Offset Its Purge Of Dozens Of Titles With A Price Cut

It seems like after yesterday's gutting of animated programming offered on HBO Max, the streamer is trying to smooth things over with their outraged subscriber base by announcing a new discounted rate like a parent promising a Happy Meal to their rightfully frustrated child. New customers now have the option to sign up for a prepaid annual subscription with a 30% slash on the original price, dropping the no-ads plan to $104.99 and the ad-supported plan to $69.99. The discount is only good for the first year after signing up, which seems acceptable since they've been slowly purging an unprecedented number of titles, including HBO Max originals.

I'm trying not to be a cynic, but the timing of this announcement is suspect. Not only does it come on the heels of the animation bloodbath, but it's also coming right before the launch of "House of the Dragon." It's no secret that "Game of Thrones" is the most popular HBO series in history, and this offering of a discounted annual fee seems to be their attempt to lure in subscribers for a longer haul who would otherwise only intend on activating their subscription whenever there's a new season.

This could also be their way of acknowledging that there is little benefit to adding discovery+ programming to HBO Max and that they are desperately trying to incentivize viewers who are hesitant on joining their soon-to-be combined platform. We already know they canned "Batgirl" to (allegedly) write the film off as a loss on their taxes, so it's not like people are lining up to throw their hard-earned dollars at a platform that now cannot be trusted to not scrap highly-anticipated releases in the name of corporate tax write-offs.

Cutting costs at existing subscribers' expense

The integrated HBO Max/discovery+ platform is anticipated to launch sometime in the summer of 2023, which would fall under the first-year discounted rate now being offered. As this plan is only available for new subscribers, there is currently no real incentive for existing subscribers to stay on board other than the platform's contemporaneous roster of programming. There's also been no word on how the HBO Max/discovery+ merger will impact existing subscriber pricing, which is concerning for those of us who are still trying to catch up on "Barry" or are holding out for season 3 of "Euphoria." 

It's me. I'm "those of us."

It is admittedly frustrating that today's announcement for a new subscriber deal has come with nothing for existing members. Many of us have been pumping in our monthly fees since the platform's launch in 2020, and have been repaid by having a bevy of exclusive content ripped away. Acquired titles come and go from streamers constantly, but losing a program like "Close Enough,"* which was exclusive to HBO Max, means that the show is at risk of entering a void of nothingness. 

Consider this an evergreen reminder that physical media is our one true entertainment god. All hail.

*For the love of all that is unholy, please watch "Close Enough." It is a ridiculously funny show and you will regret it if you miss it.