HBO and ads are two things that have never really been associated with one another, but that’s set to change later this year. HBO and WarnerMedia parent company AT&T has indicated in the past that it will roll out an ad-supported version of HBO Max, and currently, AT&T is planning to launch that new subscription tier in June. Thanks to a new report today, we may now have an idea of how much it’ll cost when it arrives.
CNBC reports today that WarnerMedia will charge $9.99 a month for the ad-supported version of HBO Max when it launches this summer. That’s according to sources familiar with AT&T’s plans, so it’s possible that the price could change before everything is said and done.
The decision to put ads in HBO Max is an interesting one, because HBO is typically associated with ad-free viewing. HBO Max runs $14.99, which is the same price it costs to add HBO to a cable package as a premium add-on. Outside of things like trailers for its own shows, HBO doesn’t show ads through cable, so this is a pretty dramatic change for the company.
CNBC also reports today that the decision to offer an ad-supported subscription tier for HBO Max isn’t sitting too well with distributors, as it could potentially mean a lower share of the profits for them. WarnerMedia is hoping that the amount it makes through advertising impressions will be enough to close that $5 gap in subscription prices at least most of the way, but of course, no one will know that for sure until the ad-supported subscription tier launches and we see how many sign-ups it gets.
If you’re worried that an ad-supported version of HBO Max means a service that’s overrun with ads, CNBC’s report also notes that Warner’s plan is to only place advertising in programming that’s exclusive to HBO Max excluding HBO’s original programming, so it sounds like only a portion of shows and movies will be monetized through advertising. As always, take unconfirmed rumors you hear with a grain of salt, but considering AT&T is lining up a June launch for this new version of HBO Max, it probably won’t be much longer before we learn what the price actually is.