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DirecTV reduces HBO Max free trial to three months

(Image: WarnerMedia/AT&T/Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

Fresh from its spin-off from AT&T, video provider DirecTV is reducing the availability of one of its best perks.

Starting this month, DirecTV has shortened the free trial for streaming service HBO Max from one year to three months for most eligible customers.

When DirecTV was an AT&T product, customers on most DirecTV plans were gifted the ability to watch HBO Max for free for up to one year. The streaming service normally costs $15 a month — the same as a traditional HBO subscription through most video providers, including DirecTV.

AT&T spun DirecTV and its other video products, AT&T TV Now and AT&T U-Verse TV, into a separate company earlier this year, one that is jointly owned by AT&T and private equity firm TPG Capital.

In a similar move, AT&T intends to divorce itself from its content arm, WarnerMedia, by spinning off that operation into a separate company, one that is intended to merge with Discovery Communications at some point net year.

When the spin-offs were announced, some wondered if AT&T would continue to offer free access to HBO Max, which has been dangled as an incentive to lure customers to various AT&T products.

Over the last few months, the answer has revealed itself: Sort of.

Earlier this month, AT&T announced it would offer a variant of HBO Max — one with commercials, but at a cheaper price — to some customers of its Cricket prepaid phone service for free.

But unlike DirecTV, Cricket and HBO are still AT&T properties, and it remains to be seen if the free access perk will continue once HBO becomes separated from the phone company next year.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).