The ongoing streaming wars show no signs of simmering down. WarnerMedia has announced on Wednesday that HBO Max will be offered in an ad-supported format for $9.99 per month. The price represents a 33% discount from the premium no-ads package, currently priced at $14.99 per month.
The new tier was unveiled by WarnerMedia at their upfronts event. It is expected to launch in just a few weeks, sometime during the first week of June.
WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar called the ad-supported tier “the most brand-safe, elegant experience for advertisers” in the industry. Meanwhile, ad sales head JP Colaco claimed the service will have the “lightest ad load in the industry.” Colaco did not specify the so-called ad load, which in layman’s terms means how many minutes per hour will be devoted to ads. For perspective, NBCUniversal’s streaming service, Peacock, claims to have among the lowest ad load in the industry at just five minutes of ad time per hour.
The lower-cost option has both pros and cons. It will not offer Warner Bros.’ newly-released movies that are hitting the service with a day-and-date premiere, meaning they are being offered via streaming and at theaters simultaneously. However, the $9.99 option will offer all the other same content choices as the premium tier. It also will not show ads on HBO’s original programming, such as “The Sopranos,” “The Wire,” and “Sex and the City.”
HBO Max with ads is reasonably priced for those who wish to stream the premium service’s exceptional content. However, relative to the rest of the industry, the new tier still remains more expensive than most. Peacock with ads costs $4.99. Paramount Plus with ads costs $5.99. Hulu with ads also costs $5.99. And Disney Plus without ads costs $7.99 per month.