HBO Max Will Reportedly Get a Cheaper, Ad-Supported Tier In 2021

According to Reuters, AT&T is exploring an ad-supported tier for HBO Max that would launch in 2021. “That’s one year after HBO Max is expected to launch as an ad-free subscription service,” reports The Verge. “Reuters suggests that HBO Max is likely to cost more than HBO’s current standalone streaming service, HBO Now ($15 a month), which is on par with earlier reports. However, FierceVideo recently reported that analysts believe HBO Max could cost as low as $8 a month through an ad-supported offering.” From the report: The ad-supported option will allow AT&T to offer HBO Max at a lower cost than that of the traditional cable channel and HBO Now. HBO Max will offer more content than HBO Now, and is targeted at cord-cutters. The company will also offer HBO Max for free to the approximately 10 million AT&T customers who are also HBO subscribers. HBO reportedly had approximately 140 million subscribers globally as of 2018, with 35 million subscribers in the United States alone. The Verge has reached out to HBO for additional comment.

This doesn’t mean those 10 million subscribers, or other customers that use HBO via cable packages and HBO Now, will start seeing ads. An HBO spokesperson previously told Bloomberg that “We will never carry ads on HBO.” But HBO Max is still HBO to an extent. This is the issue with AT&T and WarnerMedia’s decision to lean on the HBO brand name for its general service; people still see it as HBO. Jon Klein, former president of CNN and media expert, previously told The Verge that by adding HBO into the name, people are expecting a traditional HBO experience. Adding Max implies it’s that experience, but more, Klein said. Advertisements haven’t been part of the HBO experience — at least until now.

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