HBO Max Announces Details For Ad-Supported Tier Debuting In June

There's a lot we still don't know, like the price, but all will be revealed soon.


HBO Max's previously proposed cheaper, ad-supported tier will indeed become a reality in June. According to a release (via The Verge), in addition to the newly announced target release date, major details also include the insight that unlike full-price subscribers, ad-supported customers will be unable to access same-day theatrical releases.

After Warner Bros.'s surprising and seismic announcement back in December that its entire theatrical line-up would debut on HBO Max, this is an interesting wrinkle to its plans--especially as, knock on wood, major theatrical markets in New York and Los Angeles are winding their way to re-open with restrictions. Earlier this month, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar recently noted that the movie industry is still in "experimentation mode" on theatrical windows, and that "most people on this planet are not wealthy," so multiple venues to catch new releases should no longer be viewed as a threat to the previous one-size-fits-all dynamic favoring theaters.

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Still, major studios are making no secret that they are betting on streaming services. According to Variety, AT&T has substantially raised subscriber targets for HBO and HBO Max through 2025 to between 120 and 150 million, up from the 75 to 90 million previously projected in the fall of 2019. There has been tons of discussion and predictions about what "going back to normal" after COVID-19 means, and it's increasingly clear that the pandemic has made many impacts on our relationship with consuming content.

With this new ad-supported tier, which AT&T didn't yet specify the cost for, bets are being placed on whether, specifically for HBO Max, audiences will be interested in checking out the service without access to new releases coming later this year like James Gunn's Suicide Squad (August 6), Dune (October 1), or Matrix 4 (December 22).

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