Did “Wonder Woman 1984” fail to deliver the HBO Max subscriber haul WarnerMedia was banking on — or was its promo pricing so successful it reupped the deal? The media company, looking to lock up more paying customers for HBO Max through mid-2021, extended its 22% promotional discount for new subscribers who prepay for six months.
The special offer is available to new and returning HBO Max subscribers who prepay for six months at $69.99 (about $11.66 per month, versus the regular $14.99 monthly price). The promo was set to expire this Friday, but WarnerMedia has now extended that until March 1, 2021.
AT&T-owned WarnerMedia company is putting its shoulder into maxing up HBO Max, with the direct-to-consumer price discount playing a key role in its attempt to move the needle. The company introduced the six-month prepay offer three weeks ahead of the Christmas Day debut of “Wonder Woman 1984,” starring Gal Gadot, simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters.
As of the end of the third quarter, WarnerMedia said 28.7 million customers were eligible to get HBO Max — but only 8.6 million users total had activated service. On Dec. 8, AT&T chief John Stankey said HBO Max gained 4 million subscriber activations since then, to stand at nearly 12.6 million.
To sweeten HBO Max’s pot, WarnerMedia plans to premiere Warner Bros.’ entire 2021 film slate on HBO Max and theatrically. The move garnered industry ire but AT&T and WarnerMedia execs defended the strategy given COVID-suppressed in at least the first half of the year. The WB films are set to include “The Matrix 4,” Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” remake, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s adaptation of “In the Heights,” “The Suicide Squad,” “Space Jam: A New Legacy” and “The Many Saints of Newark” (a prequel to HBO’s “Sopranos”).
With the day-and-date move, WarnerMedia in 2021 will need to net 8.4 million incremental new HBO Max subs above its current pace to recoup lost revenue from theatrical and home-entertainment distribution, according to estimates by analyst Craig Moffett.
Most HBO subscribers in the U.S. now have access to the HBO Max app through their provider, and WarnerMedia inked a long-awaited distribution deal with Roku to get HBO Max on the streaming platform just before the premiere of “WW84.” WarnerMedia also killed off its seven-day free trial offer for HBO Max last month ahead of “Wonder Woman 1984,” which leave the service Jan. 24.