Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav hinted that its Max streaming service may get even more expensive over time.
Zaslav made the case that the company will be able to justify possible price increases by raising the value offered by Max. He made the comments at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology conference on Wednesday.
“When we increased the price, the loss to us has been very minimal,” Zaslav said about previous increases. He said that he believes the price for premium content has actually come down, and that he sees “more meaningful opportunities to move on price.”
Warner Bros. Discovery and Zaslav have been trying to spin Max as a more comprehensive source of content in a bid to lure subscribers. The service has gone through a rebranding (dropping the HBO name) and bulked up its library with more programming from the Discovery side. While the service reaches fewer subscribers than leader Netflix or even upstarts like Disney+, it remains a key part of the company’s strategy to compete in the media world.
In April, the company launched three new tiers for the rebranded Max, which effectively served as a price increase for some users. While the $9.99 ad-supported plan remained unchanged, the $15.99-a-month ad-free tier lost features like UHD access and offline viewing, which moved up to the $19.99 plan. Those plans has already seen a price increase back in January, back when it was HBO Max.
Those new features coming to Max include a CNN live stream to Max and is even considering possible alerts as it works to add more of a real-time element to what was largely an on-demand library. Zaslav said the live news service will launch in the next two to three weeks and target the younger audience on Max.
Bloomberg had earlier reported that Warners Bros.’s Max streaming service would offer live sports at no additional costs — at least for the first few months. The report said that an additional charge would come in February or March, which would fall in line with Zaslav’s hint that more price hikes would come.
Zaslav didn’t provide details on the company’s sports plans, only teasing that more plans would come in the next few weeks.
“We have a very comprehensive strategic attack plan on sports,” he said.
When asked about the dispute between Charter’s Spectrum and Disney over a programming deal, Zaslav said he didn’t know much about the details of the talks. But he said that Warner Bros. Discovery is prepared whether this is a moment where Disney and Spectrum bury the hatchet on go on with a standard deal, or if this is a time of true change and disruption.
“The work was to put ourselves in a position to be ready for a moment like this,” he said.