AT&T plans to launch a more affordable version of its fledgling streaming service early this summer for prospective subscribers who aren’t willing to pay HBO Max’s standard $14.99/month rate. The news was revealed by WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar this week, who spoke during AT&T’s 2021 Analyst & Investor Day event and noted that a cheaper, ad-supported version of HBO Max would be launched in June. This tier will not include the benefit of Warner Bros.’ upcoming slate of day-and-date blockbusters such as Dune and Matrix 4, however.
“The ad-supported tier won’t include Warner Bros. theatrical releases, the same day as theaters, like the ad-free tier,” The Streamable reported in its coverage. “This means fans of Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, and Dune, among others, will have to either subscribe to the ad-free tier of HBO Max or head to the theaters to see these films.”
“I do believe we’re going to see uptake in people choosing the ad-supported option of HBO Max,” Kilar said, advising that the new tier should prove useful in bolstering the streaming service’s growing subscription numbers. “And that of course is going to create lots of inventory for our advertising team to be able to sell to marketers.”
It isn’t clear how much AT&T and WarnerMedia will charge for its cheaper tier of HBO Max, but critics argue that the ad-supported version should be free because it includes advertisements. This is the path that NBCUniversal chose with its streaming competitor, Peacock, which includes a tier that allows users to watch thousands of hours of movies, TV shows, and more at no cost.