HBO Max will offer cheaper subscriptions—for people who don’t mind watching ads

WarnerMedia plans to roll out a less expensive version of HBO Max as it looks to grow its base of subscribers, but those who opt in to the new tier will have to deal with commercials in some programming.

The ad-supported subscription, which will launch in June, will carry a lower monthly rate than the $14.99 per month charge for the current, premium HBO Max. Officials, who announced the new tier Friday at AT&T’s analyst and investor day, did not announce the price, however.

The ads would air only in shows that are designed for commercial breaks. HBO programming, such as Game of Thrones, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Westworld, will not feature them. In addition to seeing ads in some programming, subscribers to the lower tier will not have access to upcoming 2021 theatrical releases, which are released in theaters and on HBO Max at the same time.

That would force subscribers to wait for upcoming films such as The Matrix 4, Dune, The Suicide Squad, and Space Jam: A New Legacy.

In January, AT&T announced HBO Max has nearly 40 million U.S. subscribers—and 60 million globally. Those aren’t bad numbers, but they’re blown away by Disney, which recently topped 100 million after just 16 months and Netflix, which has almost 204 million subscribers globally.

AT&T is confident it can join the fight. It now says it expects to have up to 150 million subscribers for HBO and HBO Max by the end of 2025. 

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