WarnerMedia ended the seven-day free trial offer for HBO Max, just ahead of the release of Wonder Woman 1984 on the streaming service. The blockbuster will be available on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, the same day it hits theaters. WarnerMedia also announced plans to release all 2021 Warner Bros. movies on HBO Max the same day they hit theaters.
The free trial period had been offered since HBO Max launched in May 2020, notes Variety. However, killing the deal will ensure more paid subscribers when the Wonder Woman sequel launches. The company likely does not want people to sign up for the trial, see the movie, and then cancel their subscription without ever paying a cent.
WarnerMedia is offering a new deal though. There is a 22% discount for new subscribers who agree to pay $69.99 for six months instead of the $14.99 monthly cost. The offer started Thursday and ends on Jan. 15, 2021. "We frequently update and iterate our offers to provide flexible ways for potential subscribers to access all that HBO Max has to offer," a WarnerMedia spokesperson said.
A free trial period had once been a common offer among streaming services, but both Disney+ and Netflix have recently nixed theirs. Disney+ ended its seven-day offer in June, just before the Hamilton movie was released on July 3. Netflix also ended the 30-day free trial in the U.S. in October as it tries different ways to lure new customers.
WarnerMedia took a big swing on Thursday in its latest effort to make HBO Max more relevant among the streaming platforms. All Warner Bros. Pictures Group releases for 2021 - including the DC Comics movie The Suicide Squad, the new Tom & Jerry movie, the new big-budget adaptation of Dune, and The Matrix 4 -will all be released on HBO Max the same day they hit theaters. The other films on the slate include The Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark, Godzilla vs. Kong, In The Heights, and Space Jam: A New Legacy. All films will be available on HBO Max for the first month after their releases, then will disappear while their theatrical runs continue. WarnerMedia CEO Ann Sarnoff described this as a "one-year plan" for 2021.
HBO Max only recently became available on Amazon's Fire TV platform after Amazon agreed to discontinue offering legacy HBO programming on Prime Video Channels beginning in 2021. It is still unavailable to 46 million Roku subscribers. Roku users have to jump through hoops to use HBO Max now. Roku users with recent 4K dvices can use Apple AirPlay 2 to cast from the HBO Max app to Roku players.