HBO Max is the latest upcoming streaming service that will be free for potentially millions of customers.
Reuters reported that HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service, will be free for customers who subscribe to HBO through AT&T-owned DirecTV or AT&T TV Now. The company may also include HBO Max for free on certain AT&T wireless plans.
It is unclear how long the free HBO Max subscription will be valid for and a WarnerMedia spokesperson did not return a request for comment.
HBO Max is expected to launch in Spring 2020 and WarnerMedia will share additional details – which could include pricing and a firm release date – about the streaming service during an event in Burbank on Oct. 29.
The option for AT&T customers to get free HBO Max access by purchasing other AT&T plans or subscriptions isn’t surprising: Large conglomerates such as AT&T, Apple and Disney work to retain customers by offering these kinds of cross-promotional deals. All three now have announced deals where potentially large numbers of consumers can get free access to each company’s upcoming streaming service.
Apple previously announced that a year’s subscription to Apple TV+ will be gifted to customers who purchase most new Apple devices. On Tuesday, Disney said that Verizon customers on the carrier’s unlimited data plan will get a year of Disney+. The company previously announced a Disney+ bundle that would include ESPN+ and the ad-supported version of Hulu; Disney also held a short-term promotion where customers that purchased two years of the service would get a third year for free.
The free access to HBO Max could have a big impact, as industry chatter has long suggested that the service will cost considerably more than its competitors. A $16-$17 per month price range has been rumored for months, which would be significantly more expensive than the $4.99 and $6.99 subscription prices for Apple TV+ and Disney+, respectively. Both of those services launch next month and will have had months to bulk up their libraries by the time HBO Max launches. WarnerMedia offering HBO Max for free to many pre-existing AT&T customers could soften the potential pricing sting and help the platform generate early buzz.
HBO Max will launch with legacy series such as “Friends” “The Big Bang Theory”, and “Sesame Street.” Original programming will include new installments in franchises such as “Gossip Girl”, “Dune”, and “The Boondocks.”