Following rumblings earlier this year that HBO was planning to launch a cheaper ad-supported tier of HBO Max, HBO has officially announced HBO Max with Ads.
Starting at $10 a month and going live the first week of June, HBO Max with Ads comes cost $5 less than the full ad-free tier of HBO Max ($15 a month). And while that price seems a bit high for people to still be subjected to commercials, HBO claims HBO Max with Ads will have the “lightest ad load in the streaming industry, coupled with the most premium content.” Though what that actually looks like for real remains to be seen—and it’s always possible things will change.
Similar to the ad-free tier, HBO Max with Ads offers the same library of movies and original shows as regular HBO Max, along with content from other brands under the WarnerMedia umbrella such as DC Comics, Cartoon Network, Turner Classic Movies, and more.
However, the one critical difference between HBO Max with Ads and the premium ad-free tier is that HBO Max with Ads subscribers will not get access to Warner Bros. Same-Day Premiere films, which recently saw blockbuster movies such as Wonder Woman 1984, Godzilla vs. Kong, and Mortal Kombat available to stream at home the same day as their theatrical release.
By launching a paid ad-supported tier, HBO Max is looking to offer a similar range of tiers and pricing to other streaming services like Hulu. But Hulu’s ad-supported tier costs just $6 a month, positioning HBO Max as the more premium option.
The one big question will be how the recently announced merger between WarnerMedia and Discovery will affect HBO Max’s library of content going forward. With that deal not expected to be finalized until sometime in 2022, there’s still some time before everything will be sorted out.