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Max hikes cost of ad-free subscriptions

By Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times
Published: June 8, 2024, 5:52am

Warner Bros. Discovery is raising the cost of ad-free subscriptions to its streaming platform, Max.

The New York-based entertainment behemoth announced Tuesday that the price of its monthly ad-free plan has increased by $1 to $16.99, while its annual ad-free rate has gone up by $20 to $169.99. Its monthly premium ad-free plan also has increased by $1 to $20.99, while its annual premium ad-free rate has gone up by $10 to $209.99.

The price hikes are effective immediately for new subscribers, while existing customers will see the change reflected in the July billing cycle. Rates for Max’s ad tier will stay the same, costing $9.99 per month and $99.99 per year.

Warner Bros. Discovery rolled out its new streaming subscription rates just in time for the return of one of its biggest hits, “House of the Dragon.” The second season of the “Game of Thrones” prequel series debuts June 16. Max features content from Warner Bros. Discovery units including HBO, Cartoon Network, CNN and Turner Classic Movies.

Subscription costs for the major streamers — such as Max, Disney+, Apple TV+ and Netflix — have been steadily rising in recent years along with the platforms’ profiles.

The price hikes come as streaming services in video and music are raising rates to boost revenue and profitability. On Monday, music and podcast streaming giant Spotify raised the costs of its ad-free subscription plans by a similar margin.

What started as a bounty of free-trial opportunities and cheap access to seemingly infinite libraries has evolved significantly as media companies struggle to profit off of their streaming operations — many of which continue to lose money.

Even Netflix, the undisputed winner of the so-called streaming wars, finally cracked down on password sharing and removed its cheapest ad-free option last year in an effort to improve its bottom line.