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HBO Makes a Big Change That Will Hit Viewers Where it Hurts

The streaming company is making the change for the first time in its U.S. history.
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HBO Max, owned by parent company Warner Bros Discovery  (WBD) - Get Free Report is home to many of the streaming world's top shows. 

Its biggest sensation, Game of Thrones, is the most watched television series of all time, according to IMDb. But it boasts plenty of other hits, including The Sopranos, Big Little Lies, Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Wire. 

House of the Dragon Lead KL

HBO Was Ahead of the Curve for Years

Part of what makes HBO so unique is that it was ahead of the streaming trend before it was dubbed the 'streaming wars.' Founded in 1972, HBO was the first of its kind for a subscription-based, commercial-free premium channel that upsold viewers for its premium content -- content that included profanity and other mature themes intended for an adult audience that could otherwise only get dramas of that nature at the movie theater. It's now got a streaming arm, launched in 2020, that continues to dominate ratings charts and pop culture discussions everywhere. 

But now many major media companies are in on the game. Most even have their own flagship streaming services, take Peacock by Comcast  (CMCSA) - Get Free Report, Amazon's  (AMZN) - Get Free Report Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ by Disney  (DIS) - Get Free Report, Hulu (also owned by Disney), and Netflix  (NFLX) - Get Free Report.

If you want TV on demand, you can have as much of it as you want. HBO is no longer the disruptor it once was. 

What Is HBO Changing?

Since competition for eyeballs is now fierce, every streaming minute matters. Which is basically just another way of saying every dollar matters. The more people stream, the more they tend to come back as paying customers each month. But retaining customers, who now have their pick of the litter when it comes to entertainment lineups, has gotten much tougher. That's partly why Netflix is introducing an ad-supported service, which it hopes will help grow and retain users by giving them a cheaper option.

Rather than going that route, however, HBO has announced it will raise subscription prices in the U.S., its biggest market. 

Effective immediately, HBO will raise the price for a subscription by $1, from $14.99 to $15.99 a month. This amounts to a roughly 7% increase. The change will affect all subscribers' next billing cycles, and the product will still remain ad-free.