In June, HBO Max will get a cheaper ad-supported subscription, parent company AT&T told investors today. However, a specific price and launch date have not been disclosed. Currently, an ad-free subscription to HBO Max costs $14.99 per month in the United States.
There’s one major drawback, though: the ad-supported version of the service won’t stream the much-hyped Warner Bros theatrical releases. Those movies include: Wonder Woman 1984which aired simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters in December 2020, and Dunewhich is expected to premiere this year.
HBO joins Paramount+, Hulu and some other streaming services in offering (at least) two tiers: one relatively cheap with pre-roll or mid-roll ads and one with a higher monthly fee without ads. Still, some of HBO Max’s competitors, such as Disney+ or Netflix, don’t do sold ads at all.
This is notable in part because as a premium paid channel, HBO has long been ad-free — something that was unusual in the TV industry before streaming services like Netflix began to dominate. That said, HBO Max features more than just HBO’s original programming. It also includes movies and series from various other brands and studios owned by WarnerMedia.
And in deference to HBO’s history as an ad-free channel, representatives of the service say HBO content—that is, stuff made for the premium network—will remain ad-free, even if content for and from other brands may include commercials.
Along with this announcement, HBO Max representatives said the company expects to have between 67 and 70 million subscribers by the end of 2021 and somewhere between 120 and 125 million by the end of 2025.
The service is also expected to launch in 60 new markets outside the United States this year. Those include 39 territories in Latin America and the Caribbean in June, plus 21 territories in Europe in the second half of the year.