HBO Max is an American streaming service owned by AT&T that launched on May 27, 2020. While built around content from namesake premium television service HBO, it principally serves as a content hub for WarnerMedia’s various film and television properties, offering a range of original programming and library content from the company as well as additional content licensed through third-party distributors.
Along with HBO Max’s international expansion, the streamer plans to release an ad-supported version of the service in June.
Will HBO Max have Ads?
WarnerMedia plans to launch a separate version of HBO Max that includes ads. For now, this ad-supported HBO Max will only be available in the U.S.
On the 27th of May, 2020, AT&T CEO John Stankey stated the following while talking to CNBC’s Squawk Box:
We believe the long term dynamics will be both subscription and advertising supported. If you think about what consumers like, they like choice. You don’t necessarily mind ads, if they’re executed well and they’re relevant.
Later that year in September, Variety confirmed that conversations were happening about possibly including ads into HBO Max. In a marketing survey sent to consumers in early-September, WarnerMedia explained that the plan for an ad-supported version of HBO Max is that it would only contain around two to four minutes of ads per hour. This is less than the five minutes per hour that runs on Peacock, and Hulu’s nine minutes per hour.
Furthermore, while commercials are not likely to appear in any HBO originals, the plan is for Max originals to contain ads, alongside WarnerMedia’s other TV networks. Older films that are available to be watched on HBO Max will reportedly also include ads. Naturally, the version of HBO Max that includes ads will be priced lower than the version without ads.
When will HBO Max with Ads be released?
HBO Max plans to release an ad-supported version of its service in June, alongside its international expansion. It was previously revealed that HBO Max will be making its international launch in June, as the service is planned to launch in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Countries that HBO Max will be rolling out in June include; Anguilla, Antigua, Argentina, Aruba, B.V.I., Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks and Caicos, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
The Latin America launch is just the first phase of HBO Max’s international rollout. WarnerMedia plans to turn its HBO-branded services in Europe into HBO Max later this year. HBO Max is currently only available in the United States, which is where the ad-supported version of HBO Max will launch first.