The CNBC report indicates that the ad-supported version of HBO Max could be available as soon as June 2021, but there's been no official announcement yet from WarnerMedia on any of these details.
AT&T CEO John Stankey did indicate earlier that an ad-supported subscription was in the works.
HBO Max’s current pricing
HBO Max Joins a Crowded Field Trying This Pricing Strategy
HBO Max, which debuted in May 2020, began solely as an ad-free video-on-demand streaming service.
But as it looks to expand its userbase, AT&T is trying new strategies such as allowing subscribers to stream WarnerMedia movies on the same day as their theatrical releases.
The idea of offering a cheaper version of a streaming product in exchange for watching commercials is straight out of its competitors’ playbook.
It’s a “choose your own path” move that allows consumers to decide whether they’d rather save a couple of bucks and be subjected to commercials or stream content more efficiently by paying to avoid the ads.
Here are some quick examples of the pricing strategies used by competitors that offer both ad-supported and ad-free streaming experiences.
As you can see, even with the proposed ad-supported discount, HBO Max is still one of the more expensive video-on-demand streaming options. That’s understandable considering the premium content it offers.
What Does HBO Max Offer?
If you’re not familiar with HBO Max already, you may be pleasantly surprised by all this service has to offer.
In addition to the entire HBO content collection that you find on HBO or HBO Now, HBO Max also offers new original content, hit TV series that didn’t air on HBO and even new release movies from WarnerMedia.
I cover the details of the content menu pretty thoroughly in my HBO Max review, but here are some sample titles to give you an idea of what to expect from the expansive content library:
- Game of Thrones
- The Sopranos
- Boardwalk Empire
- Curb Your Enthusiasm
- The Wire
Hit TV Shows from Outside the HBO Ecosystem
- The Big Bang Theory
- South Park
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
New Release Movies
- Mortal Kombat
- Godzilla vs. Kong
- The Many Saints of Newark
- Space Jam: A New Legacy
Ultimately, choice is almost always best.
Cord-cutters are leaving cable behind so that they can have financial flexibility and the freedom of choice with their content.
Since debuting last year, HBO Max has consistently been a strong option for premium content. But to get it, you had to pay a top-shelf price.
A $9.99 per month option would allow a value streamer to spend a few months using this service without breaking the budget.
And since HBO Max is streaming all WarnerMedia films on the same day as the theatrical release in 2021, this is a great time to jump in there and give the service a try. The price of a month is now below the price of a single primetime movie ticket for one of those box office releases.
Of course, not everyone has the same tolerance for commercials. The people who can’t stand them are likely better off paying the extra $5 per month to continue enjoying the ad-free experience.
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