Those who are looking to lower their streaming service spending who don’t mind ad breaks will soon have a new option. HBO Max is getting an ad-supported version, set to launch in the first week of June. This new version will cost $9.99 per month, as opposed to the current $14.99 per month version that does not include ads.
WarnerMedia revealed details of the HBO Max with ads launch at an upfront presentation. The idea of a cheaper version of the streaming service with ads has been discussed for months but is finally coming to fruition. The company promises that it will have the “lightest ad load in the industry.” Tony Goncalves, EVP and Chief Revenue Officer for WarnerMedia., had this to say.
“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.”
Those who choose to subscribe to the ad-supported version of HBO Max will have access to almost all of the same content. The only difference is that these users will not be able to watch any of the 2021 new release movies that are arriving on HBO Max the same day that they hit theaters. Examples from earlier this year include Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat. JP Colaco, Head of Advertising Sales for WarnerMedia., had this to say.
“HBO Max with Ads provides a superior marketing environment, featuring the lightest ad load in the streaming industry, driving engagement with consumers and efficacy for our partners. Couple that with beloved premium content spanning all genres and audience segments, and we are delivering the best ad offering available in market today.”
Aside from the user experience, WarnerMedia is focusing heavily on the advertiser side of things as well. The company, which is set to launch with Discovery next year pending regulatory approval, will offer several unique ad formats starting with “Brand Block,” which is available now. With “Pause Ads” and “Branded Discovery” coming soon. Here’s a breakdown of what each of those ad formats equates to.
Brand Block: Where brands own a block of content and consumers delight in a limited commercial experience.
Pause Ads: Create a new space to connect with meaningful engagement opportunities when a consumer takes a break.
Branded Discovery: Surround the content discovery process as consumers explore HBO Max recommended programming.
Netflix, the biggest streaming service on the market right now, has more than 200 million subscribers worldwide. Everyone, including HBO Max, is playing catch up. Netflix crucially does not have an ad-supported version and the leadership at the company has promised that they will never move in that direction. But other services like Peacock, Hulu and now HBO Max see it as a way to attract more subscribers and open up new revenue streams. Time will tell if the strategy pays off for WarnerMedia. This news was previously reported by Variety.