HBO Max is adding a new, cheaper subscription option, though you’ll need to put up with adverts during your streaming. The $9.99 per month tier, dubbed HBO Max with Ads, will launch alongside rather than replacing the existing ad-free HBO Max option, which is priced at $14.99 per month.
For the most part, there’ll be no catalog or content differences between the two plans, which will include things like the upcoming “Friends: The Reunion” along with new seasons of “Legendary” and “Search Party.” Both will also get access to the back-catalog of content from HBO, Warner Bros., DC, Adult Swim, and Cartoon Network.
However, HBO Max with Ads won’t get the Warner Bros. Same-Day Premiere movies, which are set to debut simultaneously in theaters and via the streaming service through 2021. Instead you’ll need to be a full, ad-free HBO Max subscriber for that.
It brings the service more in line with some of its key rivals, which have long used advertising to help offset some of the subscription fees. Hulu, for example, offers plans with both adverts and without, with its ad-supported tier starting at $5.99 per month. Hulu charges $11.99 per month for the no-ads option, though there are some shows that the more expensive plan doesn’t actually include with its promise of zero commercials.
HBO Max, however, will have the “lightest ad load among ad-supported streamers,” WarnerMedia promised today. Initially there’ll be so-called brand block adverts, where companies can “own a block of content” and viewers will actually see limited commercials.
Coming later, however, will be “pause ads” which are interjected within the content being streamed. These will work more like traditional adverts, and indeed probably be as frustrating as they are too. Finally, there’ll also be “branded discovery,” which will be integrated with HBO Max’s content recommendation system.
HBO Max will laugh in 39 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean in late June, WarnerMedia says, though they’ll not include adverts. Europe’s HBO-branded streaming services will be renamed and upgraded to HBO Max functionality later in the year, meanwhile.
Chatter of ad-supported plans began earlier this year, with chatter at the same time of disagreements among the company and some of its distributors. HBO Max with Ads will be available for new sign-ups in the first week of June, WarnerMedia said today.