WarnerMedia has now confirmed the cheaper, ad-supported version of HBO Max will launch next month, priced at $9.99 per month. The suggestion that a more affordable tier of the streaming service would launch has been circulating for some time, and even though AT&T previously confirmed a June release date, how much of a discount would be on offer remained unknown. However, there’s a catch to the cheaper price, beyond the commercial breaks.
HBO Max launched in May of 2020 and although priced at $14.99 per month, it does offer good value overall. For example, HBO Max launched at exactly the same price as the standalone HBO subscription. This is in spite of the Max version providing access to considerably more content than the standard subscription.
As part of its 2021 WarnerMedia Upfront event, the company officially announced the ad-supported HBO Max will cost $9.99 per month and provide access to the full HBO Max content catalog. The announcement also reconfirmed a release in June. While the exact date was not mentioned, WarnerMedia did say the launch will take place in the first week of the month.
Naturally, an ad-supported version of HBO Max includes ads. Due to this, anyone signing up to the cheaper subscription tier should expect to encounter commercial breaks when viewing content. However, WarnerMedia did explain that the ad load will be light, even suggesting it will be one of the lightest in the industry. The announcement also confirmed that the ad-free HBO Max is due to become available in even more countries in June, albeit in the latter weeks of the month.
The cheaper HBO Max catch
In addition to the ad breaks, the cheaper version also comes with another compromise. WarnerMedia has confirmed that the $10 HBO Max plan will not include access to same-day theatrical movie releases. Throughout 2021, HBO Max subscribers have been able to view new movies the same day they arrive in theaters. Although only available for a limited time after landing on the streaming service, they do provide additional value. WarnerMedia explained that these tiles will not be available to anyone subscribed to the cheaper, ad-supported plan.
Of course, this is only a limited-time catch. It was previously confirmed that the option to watch new movies on HBO Max on their day of release in theaters won’t be available in 2022. Therefore, those wanting to continue accessing new movies might want to consider continuing to pay the higher $14.99 per month rate for the remainder of this year, and then possibly switching to the ad-supported HBO Max plan next year. For those less concerned about the latest movie releases, the cheaper HBO Max subscription will be available in a matter of weeks.