Skip to main content

HBO Max with Ads to launch in June for $10 per month

WarnerMedia’s HBO Max announced today that it will debut its ad-supported subscription tier the first week of June. The tier, which is called HBO Max with Ads, will cost $10 per month — $5 less than the existing ad-free version of HBO Max ($15 per month).

The streaming entertainment platform, which is home to movies like Wonder Woman 1984, and TV shows like the sitcom Friends, says it is committing to having the lightest ad load in the streaming industry, along with the most premium content.

Subscribers to the ad-supported tier of HBO Max will have access to the full HBO Max content catalog, but as previously reported, this will exclude Warner Bros. same-day premiere films debuting in theaters and on HBO Max throughout 2021. These include movies like Dune and The Matrix 4, which WarnerMedia had previously announced.

The server also took the opportunity to remind people of upcoming special events like Friends: The Reunion, which it describes as  “a real-life unscripted celebration of the beloved show.”

Earlier reports quoted WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, who said that the new service “won’t muddy HBO shows with commercials.” This led to speculation about how exactly ads would work on the new, more affordable tier.

In a press release emailed to news outlets, WarnerMedia described three different kinds of ad experiences that advertisers will be able to buy:

  • Brand Block: Where brands own a block of content and consumers delight in a limited commercial experience.

  • Pause Ads: Create a new space to connect with meaningful engagement opportunities when a consumer takes a break.

  • Branded Discovery: Surround the content discovery process as consumers explore HBO Max recommended programming.

Providing an ad-supported tier, whether for free or for a reduced price, is something many streaming services have chosen to do as a way of acquiring customers who are highly price-sensitive. Hulu, Paramount+, and NBCUniversal’s Peacock have chosen the reduced-price route, while dozens of other services provide their content for free with ads.

If and when HBO Max launches this ad-supported tier, Netflix and Disney+ would be among the very few services to only offer paid subscription options.

Editors' Recommendations

Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like…
Netflix’s ad-based tier launches November 3 at $7 a month
Iliza Shlishinger on Netflix.

Netflix today announced details for its new plan that will, for the first time, include advertising. It'll launch at noon ET on November 3 in the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Spain, and the U.K.

The plan costs $7 a month in the U.S., $6 a month in Canada, and 5 pounds a month in the U.K.

Read more
Does HBO Max think you’re dumb?
hbo max discount while content cut 1

You can't swing a dead cat in the entertainment space these days without running into a headline about how the newly combined Warner Bros. Discovery — which owns HBO Max — has canceled a show that was in the planning stages. Or already was in production. Or had finished production but now will never see the light of day. Or canceled any future episodes or seasons of a strong show. Or left another in limbo. Or killed a weekly news show that was more important than not. Or unceremoniously removed hundreds of episodes from literally the most important children's series in the history of television.

Fine. That's business. The newly combined Warner Bros. Discovery reportedly is trying to shave a mere $3 billion off the balance sheet, and cuts of content and people were always going to happen.

Read more
Combined HBO Max/Discovery+ streaming service to launch in summer 2023
HBO Max and Discovery+ app icons.

We're finally starting to get a little clarity about what the future looks like for HBO Max and Discovery, which now fall under the same roof, causing a bit of a shockwave in the entertainment industry not just from the platform side, but more recently by taking a pretty heavy hatchet to shows and movies.

During Thursday's second-quarter earnings call, executives of the new Warner Bros. Discovery said to expect the launch of a new service that combines HBO Max and Discovery+ in the summer of 2023. The United States is up first, with 39 counties in Latin America to follow later in the year. Europe will launch in 2024 — though that doesn't currently include the U.K. and Germany, followed by Asia-Pacific and new markets later in that year. It's possible that some markets may see an accelerated rollout, however.

Read more