HBO might offer advertisements on its upcoming streaming service, HBO Max.
Specifically, it is reportedly considering an ad-supported tier for HBO Max, according to Reuters. It won't launch until 2021, however, about one year after HBO Max is expected to debut as an ad-free subscription service offering the entire HBO catalogue, plus original content and programming from Warner Media's other brands. You can read all about the service from our round-up.
HBO Max will likely cost more than HBO’s existing streaming service, HBO Now, which is priced at $15 a month. But, with an ad-supported tier, it could offer a cheaper plan to potential subscribers. FierceVideo recently claimed analysts think HBO Max's ad-supported offering might cost $8 a month. HBO Max will also be offered for free to roughly 10 million AT&T customers who pay for HBO.
But will those 10 million subscribers - or anyone who subscribes to HBO via cable packages - get the ad-supported tier of HBO Max? It's hard to say for now, because HBO hasn't confirmed anything. It's safe to assume, however, that, by adding advertisements into the mix, AT&T and WarnerMedia could quickly scale the streaming service, while HBO Max would help AT&T grow its subscribers.
There are a lot of unknowns at this point. We do know Disney+ and Apple TV+ are both launching next month, while NBC Universal's Peacock is coming next year, too. CBS All Access also merged with Viacom. And every one of these companies has been spending billions on content. So, HBO Max is facing stiff competition. And an ad-supported tier might help it in these streaming wars.
HBO Max's price and launch date are supposed to be announced on 29 October, so we suspect we'll learn more soon.