HBO Max enters the streaming wars — does it have what it takes?

Will HBO Max subscribers endure its higher monthly fee?

This week marked the launch of HBO Max, HBO’s all-new and much-talked-about streaming service. The company reportedly plans to spend $4.5 billion on the project in the coming years and hopes to have 50 million HBO Max subscribers come 2025. HBO also foresees the service generating billions in annual profits as it takes on established streaming platforms such as Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Apple TV Plus, Peacock and others. 

HBO Max rings in at $15 per month and offers 10,000 hours of programming that appeals to just about every audience, not just avid HBO watchers. HBO says users can expect a cheaper subscription option in the future. In addition to its $15-per-month service, HBO plans to release an advertising-supported subscription to take on services like Hulu and Peacock.

While HBO Max certainly is an attractive prospect, its price is an issue for some. The $15-per-month subscription falls in line with HBO’s other streaming platforms, but it’s pricier than the streaming platforms it’ll compete with. 

Netflix currently charges $9 per month for its most basic plan, and Disney Plus charges its subscribers $7 per month. Hulu, on the other hand, offers two plans: an ad-supported plan costing $5.99 per month and a premium ad-free plan for $11.99 per month.

Many industry analysts have called HBO Max’s pricing “unreasonable.” According to a study prepared for The New York Times by the global research consultancy Kantar, many of HBO’s customers are already looking to cancel their accounts, attributing the cancellations to the high cost of HBO’s services.

To date, HBO Max offers its subscribers a wealth of content. The platform features the usual HBO suspects, including “Game of Thrones” and “The Sopranos,” but it also boasts evergreen favorites like “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory.” Harry Potter fans will also be pleased to find all 8 films streaming on HBO Max. DC fans will be similarly overjoyed, as the platform boasts Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman flicks.

While HBO won’t go away anytime soon, the company has committed to focusing its efforts on redirecting subscribers to its new streaming platform. It remains to be seen how many of those subscribers will transition to HBO Max — if any at all. 

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