HBO Max Hikes Price for Ad-Free Subscribers

Jean Smart, Hannah Einbinder in Hacks
Karen Ballard/HBO Max

Prices are rising at HBO Max for the first time. As of Thursday, January 12, the monthly cost of an HBO Max ad-free subscription will be $15.99, plus applicable taxes, up $1 from the previous $14.99. This is the first price increase the streaming platform has issued since it launched in May 2020.

HBO Max with ads will still cost $9.99/month. New subscribers to the ad-free service will be signing up for the new $15.99 price, and existing subscribers who are currently paying $14.99/month will see their monthly rate increase to $15.99 effective their next billing cycle on or after Saturday, February 11, 2023.

With this price increase, HBO Max’s ad-free subscription becomes the second-most expensive ad-free streaming subscription of the major platforms, coming in behind Netflix‘s new Premium service, which costs $19.99/month. Netflix Standard (also ad-free) costs $15.49/month.

“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,” HBO Max said in a statement.

It’s an intriguing comment, given that its parent company, Warner Bros. Discovery, recently axed a slew of titles from both HBO Max and Discovery+, making those shows and films impossible to watch anywhere.

Another shocking recent decision was the network’s choice to cancel Westworld after four seasons and remove it from HBO Max entirely, in addition to a handful of other shows like Minx. The collection of shows could be licensed to free third-party streamers in a package deal, but it seems Minx will not be part of that bundle any longer.

Minx had nearly finished production on Season 2 when HBO Max reversed its renewal and cancelled the series instead. But Lionsgate was able to shop the show around. On the same day as HBO Max’s price increase announcement, STARZ announced it has picked up Minx, saving it from its cancellation.

It will now air on linear TV for the first time (it was previously an HBO Max exclusive), as well as be able to stream on STARZ’s streaming app in the future.

What do you think of HBO Max’s price uptick?