HBO Max to offer mobile plan for as little as $3 a month in Latin America, Caribbean
HBO Max will launch in 39 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean on June 29.
Joan E. SolsmanFormer Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
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HBO Max plans to launch in 39 Latin American and Caribbean countries on June 29, for the first time widening the streaming service's footprint beyond the US and offering a discounted mobile-only subscription option for as little as $3 a month.
HBO Max, for now owned by AT&T's WarnerMedia, will also have a seven-day free trial available in the new markets. HBO Max eliminated its free trial in the US in December.
"Our launch in Latin America and the Caribbean is the first step in our global rollout of HBO Max," Johannes Larcher, head of HBO Max International, said in a statement Wednesday. The service is supposed to widen to Europe later this year.
After a bumpy launch a year ago, HBO Max appears to be hitting a stride. This year, all year, it's streaming all Warner Bros.' new movies at no extra charge the same day each film hits US cinemas. Those big-name flicks, plus buzzy originals like the so-called Snyder Cut of Justice League and a Friends reunion special, have attracted more interest in Max. It'll also start June by launching a $10 ad-supported tier in the US and cap the month with the international rollout, another milestone for the service.
But HBO Max is also set to change ownership soon. Earlier this month, AT&T struck a deal to sell off HBO Max and all AT&T's media operations and merge them with Discovery, casting some uncertainty on the future shape of HBO Max after it changes hands.
Wednesday, HBO Max said Latin American subscribers will be able to watch Warner Bros. movies at no additional cost 35 days after they're released in theaters in the region. (In the US, these movies are available to stream the same day they hit cinemas.) But HBO Max will also have programming unique to these new countries too: UEFA Champions League matches will be livestreamed on Max in Brazil and Mexico, for example, and it's producing local original titles for HBO Max too.
HBO Max in these regions will have two subscription plans. The cheapest is a mobile plan that's designed for one individual to watch on a smartphone or tablet in standard-definition video quality; this plan can work out to costing as little as $3 a month in some countries if people sign up for an annual subscription. The standard plan, which also varies in pricing by country, is analogous to the HBO Max in the US, with access to three simultaneous streams, availability of five personalized profiles, support for downloads to watch on the go and video quality in high definition, including some titles in 4K.
The June 29 launch will be in the following countries: Anguilla, Antigua, Argentina, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Uruguay and Venezuela.
HBO Max launched as another splashy new service in the so-called streaming wars, a year-and-a-half period when media and technology giants rolled out their own, big-budget services to take on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and the like. Just like Disney Plus, Apple TV Plus and NBCUniversal's Peacock, HBO Max hopes its particular mix of shows, movies and originals will hook you on its vision for TV's future. But these corporate rivalries also affect how many services you must use -- and pay for -- to watch your favorite shows and movies online.