Looking to goose subscriber numbers heading into the holidays, Max is slashing the monthly price of its ad-supported tier to $2.99.
The 70% discount from the standard $9.99 rate will be available for the first six months for new and returning subscribers. The pre-Black Friday deal starts today and runs through next Monday, November 27.
Earlier this month, Max parent Warner Bros. Discovery reported having 95.1 million total streaming subscribers as of the September 30 end of the third quarter. That tally, which represents mostly Max subscriptions, is down by a million since the end of 2022. The downturn is not a surprise, as the company had been signaling that its May combination of Discovery+ and HBO Max programming in the rebranded Max service would result in some near-term subscriber losses. Nevertheless, the company has ambitions to remain in the top echelon of subscription streaming and is also looking for ways to invigorate its ad business outside of the troubled linear bundle.
While Disney and Netflix have both made noise with their ad-supported tiers introduced over the past year, Max’s subscription with advertising dates to 2021. Yet the company has given only limited glimpses of its progress and has not quantified how many subscribers have opted into it. In part, that reticence has stemmed from the timing of the merger of WarnerMedia, which launched HBO Max with Ads, and Discovery. The $43 billion deal closed in April 2022, altering the corporate backdrop and resulting in significant turnover in the executive suite.
Promos for the discounted rate include clips of TNT’s NBA coverage, which has been part of Max since WBD rolled out the Bleacher Report Sports Add-On on the streaming mother ship earlier this year. A press release announcing the discount advised that the no-extra-charge sports setup is “subject to change during the Black Friday promotional period.” CNN Max, a news integration rolled out earlier this year, will remain in place without an upcharge, at least for now.