There haven’t been many positive headlines attached to the name of streaming service HBO Max in the last six months or so, and that trend doesn’t appear to be about to reverse. After half a year of the service being embroiled in intense debate and customer dissatisfaction over its cost-cutting measures, which have largely boiled down to permanently removing the service’s own signature content (TV series and films) in order to qualify for obscure tax breaks, the powers that be at HBO Max apparently figured that January of 2023 would be the perfect time to announce the service’s first price hike since it launched in May of 2020.
That immediate price increase, announced today in a press release to media, is really quite modest, taking existing subscriptions from $14.99 to $15.99 per month, plus applicable fees. But even if it’s just $1 more, you have to figure that it will rankle consumers who are already rather furious with HBO Max, whether the cause of their ire is the erasure of animation history, or the choices of CEO David Zaslev to cancel the releases of anticipated upcoming films. There’s been so much content steadily removed from HBO Max in the last few months, in fact, that we ended up compiling a list in December of everything that has been purged to date.
But don’t worry, the company says that “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.”
Truly, HBO Max has gone out of its way to sabotage its status as a top-flight streaming service, and we can only imagine that the announcement of the price hike will be yet another PR nightmare. Meanwhile, they’re still in the midst of preparing for a merged HBO Max/Discovery+ service, which is apparently only months away from launching, despite an almost complete lack of information about it.
Nothing like starting the year off on the right foot, eh?