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HBO Max is half off right now, trying to win back lost members from Amazon

HBO Max's aggressive discount is available for anyone who signs up, but it's targeted at about 5 million accounts that paid for HBO through Amazon and were disconnected this week.

Joan E. Solsman Former 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.
Expertise Streaming video, film, television and music; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; deep fakes and synthetic media; content moderation and misinformation online Credentials
  • Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
Joan E. Solsman
2 min read
An executive stands on a stage with a huge screen showing the HBO Max logo behind him.

HBO Max streams everything on HBO's regular channel plus extra shows, movies and originals. 


HBO Max kicked off an aggressive, half-off promotion Friday for the $15-a-month, ad-free tier of its streaming service, as it aims to woo back lost HBO members who had been paying through Amazon and were essentially disconnected en masse earlier this week. HBO pulled out of Amazon Channels Wednesday, a service of the e-commerce giant that lets people pay Amazon for multiple video subscriptions in a single bill -- but also gives Amazon a slice of their subscription fees and control over the relationship with each customer. 

Read more: Save 50% on 6 months of HBO Max today

In May 2020, Amazon said that nearly 5 million people subscribed to HBO through its Amazon Channels. 

The HBO Max promotion, however, is available to anyone who signs up for HBO Max, regardless of whether you are a new customer, a returning one from Amazon or a returning one from any other provider. 

The move to pull out of Amazon and then deeply discount its service underscores the short-term business hit HBO is willing to take to command more authority over its streaming business long term. HBO Max -- for now owned by AT&T's WarnerMedia -- launched a year and a half ago as another splashy new service in the so-called streaming wars. In a year-and-a-half period, media and technology giants rolled out their own, big-budget services to take on Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and the like. 

Just like Disney PlusApple TV Plus, NBCUniversal's Peacock and others, 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.

After a bumpy launch initially, HBO Max has been growing lately while some of its biggest competitors have been struggling to keep up what used to be white-hot growth. HBO Max has been helped lately by its strategy of streaming all Warner Bros.' new movies at no extra charge the same day each film hits US cinemas for its ad-free subscribers. Those big-name flicks, plus buzzy originals like the Friends reunion special and the fact that Max is the main place to stream traditional HBO hits like White Lotus and Succession without paying for a full TV subscription too, have attracted more interest in Max this year. 

Max's half-off deal is available only for 10 days, through Sept. 26. It offers six months of HBO Max's ad-free tier -- the tier that unlocks access to same-day movies like Dune and the Matrix 4 later this year -- for $7.49 per month. Customers can sign up at HBOMax.com or through Apple, Google, LG, Microsoft, Sony, Roku and Vizio.

Watch this: What's new to stream for September 2021