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HBO Now Considering Price Cut?

26 May, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

In an age of interactive home entertainment, it would seem logical that feedback is a two-way street to over-the-top video services.

HBO Now, the $15 per month OTT video service launched in April on Apple TV, Sling TV and Cablevision broadband, among others, is floating alternative price points to trial users who elect not to sign up.

Arguably the most-scrutinized OTT video service launch this year leading up to Apple’s purported OTT venture in the fourth quarter, HBO Now offers streaming access to its vaunted original programming, including “Game of Thrones,” without a required pay-TV subscription.

But even at $15, the service is 66% more expensive per month than Netflix at $9; 82% more than Amazon Prime Instant Video at $8.25/month; and nearly 88% more per month than Hulu Plus at $7.99.

So HBO Now is emailing select trial users who chose not to subscribe a four-question survey asking their feedback on possible price points ranging from another free trial period; three months for $29.99; six months for $59.99 and one-year subscription for $99.99.

The survey is not dissimilar from email surveys conducted by Netflix and other services over the years on pricing and other issues.

Indeed, Amazon recently sent out a letter by mail to select Prime subscribers asking them if they were aware of the Prime Instant Video feature.

“I’m writing you this letter because you are an Amazon Prime member who has not yet used any of the video benefits that you’ve already paid for,” wrote Michael Paull, VP of Amazon Prime Instant Video.

In the letter, Paull said he gets inquiries asking “is Prime Instant Video like Netflix?” The executive said he wants users to be the judge, adding that it doesn’t cost more to try Prime Instant Video.

“It just makes sense to give it a try,” Paull wrote.

An HBO Now rep told TechCrunch.com the email queries are simply consumer research and nothing more.

“HBO Research conducts surveys all the time on a wide range of topics. The questions should never be interpreted as suggesting a strategic direction,” said the rep.

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