WarnerMedia estimates that its HBO Max subscription streaming platform could lose as many as 5 million subscribers after its Sept. 15 pullout from its Amazon Prime Video Channels wholesale agreement, and the media company is using an aggressive promotion to win some of these customers back.
Starting on Friday, HBO Max will offer its $14.99-a-month premium ad-free tier for just $7.49 for six months to anyone who signs back up, or who signs up for the first time.
The offer is explicitly targeted at users who previously accessed HBO through the Amazon Prime app, but the promotion is available to pretty much anyone who isn't an existing HBO Max customer.
The promotional price undermines HBO Max's recently introduced $9.99 tier with limited ads. And it will undoubtedly affect revenue for WarnerMedia's ongoing third quarter and beyond.
However, the company believes the short-term pain is justified by a future in which its service isn't disaggregated through Amazon, and WarnerMedia controls things like data collection and advanced advertising.
“It’s important for us to own the customer,” HBO chief Andy Forssell told Bloomberg. “If the viewer is in the app, we can tailor the home page to them. We can tailor what they show them next. We can respond to that in real time.”
WarnerMedia announced in August that it was pulling HBO Max from Amazon Prime Video Channels, where it had been the Amazon resale platform's hottest seller for years.
Those subscribers who did access HBO through Amazon lost their service on Wednesday.
Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. His reliable mid-range jump shot, deft ambidextrous post-up game and tough interior defense have been criminally overlooked.
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