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Max increases monthly subscription costs just before House of the Dragon season 2, because dragon war is expensive

Only the ad-free tiers are impacted by the increase, which is good news for fans happy to watch fantasy with plenty of interruptions

House of the Dragon
Image credit: HBO

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Good news: after almost a year and a half, the second season of House of the Dragon is almost here. The bad news: for those planning to watch it on Max it’ll cost more to make that happen, with the streaming service announcing an increase in subscription costs for its ad-free options.

The price increase takes place effective immediately, with a $1 rise in the US for the ad-free tier — moving from $15.99 monthly to $16.99, and an annual plan jump from $149.99 to $169.99. (Yes, that’s a $20 increase, rather than a $12 increase if you were paying monthly.) The “Ultimate Ad-Free” plan also gets a $1 monthly bump, hitting $20.99 monthly, while the annual Ultimate Ad-Free plan rate goes up $10 per year, hitting $209.99 annually. New subscribers will pay the new prices as of today; existing subscribers will pay the increased prices with their next billing cycle.

The Max with Ads plan is unchanged, however; it remains $9.99 monthly, or $99.99 annually.

What’s particularly notable about this price hike is that it’s the second time that Max has increased its subscription price just ahead of a highly anticipated show debuting on the service; in January 2023, the service also increased its subscription price by a dollar monthly less than a week before the debut of The Last of Us. This time around, the increase comes just ahead of the much-anticipated second season debut of the Game of Thrones prequel, which begins June 16. Apparently, the streamer is well aware of what shows people are very excited about, and time the bad news to arrive just when they’re most likely to be forgiven for asking for more money.

Max’s increase also arrives a day after Spotify announced its own subscription price increase, with the individual plan also increasing by $1 a month. All we need now is a third streaming service to announce a similar upgrade, and we have ourselves a genuine trend, unfortunately.

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