HBO Max May Be Getting Ad-Supported Tier Next Spring

And the proposed plan may set a new standard for fewer ads overall.


Parent company WarnerMedia is reportedly mulling an ad-supported tier of HBO Max programming rolling out in the second quarter of 2021, according to Digiday. It will amount to "a maximum of four minutes of ads per hour for episodic programming and two minutes of ads per hour for movies," according to unnamed agency executives. That's a frequency and length well below the current standard for ads on traditional TV.

The specifics of what this tier will include are still being ironed out. The New York Post is reporting that WarnerMedia has circulated a marketing survey to consumers, and "the survey suggests ads may appear alongside content from WarnerMedia's other TV networks," which includes original shows like Search Party, Love Life, and also older movies from Turner Classic Movies like The Wizard of Oz, 2001: Space Odyssey, and Grease.

The Information has speculated that the emergence and consideration of this model might be because of HBO's standing agreements with pay-TV providers a concern that ads in HBO programming might "hurt the brand."

Next year is poised to be an exciting one for HBO Max, with original programming that we know of so far including a Dune reboot spin-off TV series (placing the series firmly on the heels of the new film version, coming out in December) and Zack Snyder's Justice League.

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