HBO Max to Add a Cheaper, Ad-Supported Tier

Posted on May 20, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos with 15 Comments

WarnerMedia announced today that it will soon add an ad-supported tier to HBO Max that costs $9.99 per month, $5 less than the current offering. It’s called HBO Max with Ads.

“HBO Max with Ads will bring our beloved entertainment brands and franchises to even more consumers at this new, lower price point-while, for the first time, elegantly connecting brands to the premium, iconic IP that defines this service,” WarnerMedia executive vice president Tony Goncalves says.

The new ad-supported subscription tier arrives in the first week of June, the company says, and it will offer the same content as the current HBO Max offering. WarnerMedia claims that HBO Max with Ads will provide “the lightest ad load in the streaming industry, coupled with the most premium content.”

The firm also teased some upcoming original content, including a “Friends: The Reunion” special event and new seasons of “Legendary,” “The Flight Attendant,” “Search Party,” and others.

Tagged with

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (15)

15 responses to “HBO Max to Add a Cheaper, Ad-Supported Tier”

  1. mattbg

    Whether from consumer or stock market forces, it seems like it's only a matter of time before Netflix adds an ad-supported tier.

  2. j5

    I think that’s good they’re offering a cheaper plan even if that plan doesn’t offer the 30 day new movie feature. More options are better. Especially if you just want to subscribe to watch something in particular and then unsubscribe.

    I like HBOMax, it’s been great watching all the old HBO shows I never got to finish or even watch.

  3. Chris_Kez

    “HBO Max with Ads”

    How the mighty have fallen…

  4. scovious

    HBO is most likely making more profit from their cheaper plan. A month of advertising nested within entertainment has got to be worth more than 5$. It's a shame the savings are kept and not passed on to the customer in a more substantial way.

    The whole point of a streaming service in my opinion was that there were no ads, no ad breaks and just great content. It will take more than 5$ to bring me back to those days of constant interruption and overt salesmanship.

  5. codymesh

    who the heck wants to pay for ads?

    • gpitman

      If you have cable you pay for ads.

      We will end up going full circle but paying more than just a cable package.

  6. Lordbaal

    So $5 a month and ublock origin. Ad free.

    • spacein_vader

      Not if the ads form part of the stream itself like some YouTube ones do. If they do that then unlock, pihole etc won't stop them.

  7. TroyTruax

    HBO way back in the 70s had very limited "ads". It used to be fun to check out the shorts that they would show between movies. Those shorts gave way to endless house ads. With this service they will replace some (most?) of the house ads with actual ads. I wonder how "light the ad load" will actually be? Will there be ads in the middle of movies?

  8. beatnixxx

    I wouldn't be that enthused as a consumer to pay $9.99 a month and still get ads.

    • mattbg

      Lots of people much more than that for cable packages that have incessant ads on most channels that are more intrusive than the ones that HBO Max is talking about (ads in the UI and when streaming is paused).

      As these streaming services burn through the goodwill and cheap capital associated with starting a streaming service, I wouldn't be surprised to find us landing in a similar position in the streaming world... and Netflix will get there eventually as well.

  9. sott3

    I have no problem paying an extra 5 bucks to avoid ads. Break that out over 30 days and it's worth it to get your time back. Even the few ads shown on Peacock annoy me but I don't watch it enough to warrant the more expensive tier.

  10. qaelith2112

    The upside here ... Pay the same as we are now, and nothing changes. At least they didn't do what could have been the worse outcome and make the current pricing level into the ad supported one while offering to get rid of those new ads if we are willing to pay $20 instead of $15. I'm no worse off than I was before. For someone who found $15 to be a bit too much who avoided HBO Max or maybe those paying $15 but looking to save a few dollars and don't mind some ads, that's not a bad option. If they're truthful about it being the lightest ad load in the streaming industry, I might give it a try and see if I can tolerate it. I'm currently getting Hulu at the ad supported level because I don't really watch it quite enough to justify the full price level.

    The ads are a bit annoying there but I'm fine with it because it's just a show here and there that I watch. If I did pay that full price I'd probably be more apt to just keep adding and removing the service regularly as new seasons emerge, but for now that ad supported level is just low enough that I don't bother to ever pause the service.

    I can't find the HBO option to be at all troubling. Maybe many subscribers won't find the ad option tolerable but as with me they are no worse off with this change and it makes it more accessible to the more price sensitive and the ad tolerant. Not much that I can see here to really complain about.