When HBO Max burst on the scene last year, the service debuted with a $14.99 per month price tag. But the service’s owners have never been shy about another tier of service, one that would drop the cost a bit but also run ads. And now it’s finally almost here.
Update (06/02/2021): Sure enough, the ad-supported version of HBO Max is now available for those interested. As mentioned below, it’ll have ads, and it won’t have same-day releases for WB’s major motion pictures. Otherwise, it’s the same service as the ad-free version.
The original article continues below.
As reported today by Variety, WarnerMedia’s upfront on Wednesday revealed most of the important details regarding the upcoming tier for HBO Max. Specifically, the service will launch in the first week of June in the United States, it will have some count of advertisements, and it will cost $9.99 per month. That’s a 33% price decrease from the standard $14.99 per month for the non-ad version of the streaming service.
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar says the new tier of HBO Max will be the “most brand-safe, elegant experience for advertisers” in the industry. What that actually means remains to be seen, and there’s no word on how those ads will be played while users watch content. The possibilities are numerous, of course, with ad placements pretty aggressive on some platforms.
Today’s confirmation also reveals that the ad-supported version of HBO Max will not have day-and-date major film releases like the non-ad version. Warner Bros. decided to release all of its major movies both in theaters and on HBO Max throughout 2021, including films like Godzilla vs. Kong, Mortal Kombat, In The Heights, and others. However, those films won’t be available on the ad-supported version on the day of launch.
The ad-supported version of HBO Max will be otherwise similar to the version that doesn’t have ads, though.
This has been a longtime coming, and it’s likely to get HBO Max even more subscribers. The pricing is certainly interesting, though. Apple TV+, which admittedly has a much smaller library of content, is still priced at $4.99 per month. But even Disney+ without ads costs just $7.99 per month. And the other major streams, including Hulu with ads, Peacock Premium with ads, and Paramount+ with ads are all cheaper than HBO Max with ads.
When HBO Max’s ad-supported option launches, do you plan on subscribing to it?