WarnerMedia has finally nailed down a price for its new, ad-supported HBO Max tier: $10 a month, although viewers will be missing some key elements—namely first-run movies—available in the commercial-free plan.
During an “upfront” presentation for advertisers on Wednesday, HBO Max parent WarnerMedia said that the cheaper tier would bow in the first week of June, Cord Cutters News reports.
HBO Max with ads will offer an alternative to those balking at the $15/month price for the standard HBO Max plan, but there’s a catch: day-and-date movies from Warner Bros., such as the just-released Those Who Wish Me Dead and the upcoming The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In the Heights, and The Matrix 4 won’t be included.
That said, HBO Max will only be offering Warner Bros.’s 2021 slate of movies on the same day they arrive in theaters; after that, all bets are off.
The arrival of HBO Max with ads hasn’t been a secret. AT&T, the wireless conglomerate that—for now, at least—owns WarnerMedia, had announced as early a 2019 that an ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) version of HBO Max was on the way.
The pricing for HBO Max with ads is a tad on the high side compared to those of Hulu’s and Paramount+’s AVOD offerings, which cost about 50 percent less than their no-ads tiers.
Hulu sans ads, for example, costs $12 a month, while its ad-supported plan goes for $6/month. Paramount+’s with-ads plan fetches $5 a month, versus $10/month for its standard tier.
At $10 a month, HBO Max with ads is only about 33 percent less than its no-ads plan.
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar (who probably won’t be holding that position much longer) has previously promised that advertising on HBO Max will be rolled out “elegantly,” although the proof will be in the pudding.