HBO Max Cuts Sub Price in Half to Offset Amazon Prime Channels Exit

HBO Max has quietly cut its $14.99 monthly subscription fee in half to try to offset the service’s departure from Amazon Prime Channels — the latter platform affording Prime members access to third-party streaming services.

The limited-time $7.49 Max subscription fee is for all HBO subs — new and old — and available through Sept. 26, according to WarnerMedia. The temporary price cut makes Max less expensive than Prime Video and Netflix priced at $8.99 each.

Max’s exit — spearheaded in part by WarnerMedia’s desire to secure subscribers directly and not pay Amazon a fee — is projected to cost the the property as many as 5 million subscribers.

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Max, which recently launched in Latin America, is slated to bow service in Eastern Europe in October. WarnerMedia recently lifted its sub projections for HBO and HBO Max to a combined 73 million from previous estimates from 67 million to 70 million.

ESPN+ Raising Monthly Subscription Fee by $1

Disney-owned ESPN+ is raising its monthly subscription fee from $5.99 to $6.99, beginning on Aug. 13. The annual fee will increase to $69.99 from $59.99. ESPN July 12 began informing subscribers via email about the price hike.

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Next to Disney+, ESPN+ has been its own rising star for The Walt Disney Co.’s aggressive direct-to-consumer push distributing original content across myriad brands, including sports. The streaming platform ended the most-recent fiscal period with 14 million subscribers — more than the top-three online TV platforms streaming live sports (Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV and Sling TV) combined.

Beginning in 2022, ESPN+ will begin streaming select NFL and NHL games and matches. The platform most-recently offered PPV access to “UFC 264 | Poirier vs. McGregor 3,” featuring Dustin Poirier beating rival Conor McGregor by TKO.

AMC Theatres Subscription Ticket Service Tops 800K Members

AMC Theatres May 20 announced its branded Stubs A-List subscription ticket program now tops 800,000 moviegoers — an increase of 200,000 members in 2019.  The number make the service the No. 1 service in North America, and well ahead of its one-year target of 500,000 members by June 26.

“We believe we’ve cracked the code to make this concept successful for AMC, our shareholders, our studio partners and most importantly, our guests,” CEO Adam Aron said in a statement.

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The milestone comes after the world’s largest theatrical exhibitor reported a net loss of $130.2 million compared to profit of $17.7 million in its most-recent fiscal period. Revenue dropped 13.2% to $1.2 billion.

Indeed, AMC contends the service contributing to the bottom line as A-List members bring friends and family with them to the movies.

Launched in 2018, $19.95 Stubs A-List affords subscribers up to three movies per week, in every available AMC showtime and format, including “Imax at AMC,” “Dolby Cinema at AMC,” RealD 3D and “Prime at AMC.”

Stubs A-List subs have the same privileges as AMC Stubs Premiere members, including free upgrades on popcorn and soda, free refills on large popcorn, express service at the box office and concession stand, no online ticketing fees and 100 points for every $1 spent on the monthly Stubs A-List fee, tickets purchased for friends and family, and food & beverage spending at AMC.

AMC Stubs Premiere and A-List uers receive a $5 reward for every 5,000 points earned, which translates to a 10% credit toward future AMC purchases.

 

Amazon Raising Annual Prime Fee to $119

With over 100 million members worldwide, in addition to global aspirations delivering movies, TV shows, music, books and merchandise to consumers, Amazon April 26 announced it is raising the annual Prime fee by $20 to $119.

CFO Brian Olsavsky, on the fiscal call, said the price hike reflected the increasing services available “for free” to Prime members.

“This is a better reflection of the cost value of the [Prime] program,” Olsavsky said.

He said the last Prime price hike (from $79 to $99 in 2014) occurred when the ecommerce giant offered 20 million items available to ship for two-day shipping. It now has more than 100 million items eligible for Prime shipping.

In January, Amazon raised the monthly Prime fee to $12.99 from $10.99; and added $1 to the $5.99 student fee. But left the annual fee unchanged.

With Amazon locked in a content arms race with Netflix, Amazon Studios is projected to spend upwards of $5 million on original content this year – almost 40% less than its rival. The latest fee hike could help pay for some that content spending.

Meanwhile, Amazon generated nearly $27 billion in first-quarter (ended March 31) online sales, up 18% from the previous-year period with $22.8 billion in sales. The tallies include digital media content from Amazon Instant Video.