If you’ve been holding off on signing up for HBO Max because it’s just a little too pricey, we have good news. WarnerMedia’s streaming service will have a cheaper, ad-supported subscription tier available in June. It’s the latest attempt to keep boosting HBO Max’s subscription numbers, which are already so far ahead of the curve that the streaming service has updated their growth projections for the end of 2021 and into 2025.
In a recent press release, WarnerMedia announced the cheaper, ad-supported HBO Max subscription tier that will be arriving this June. Since this only served as the announcement of the tier itself, an exact price was not yet provided, but the tier will definitely be cheaper than the current ad-free $14.99 monthly subscription. WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar previously said (via The Wrap):
“It turns out that most people on this planet are not wealthy. If we can wake up and use price and be able to invent and do things elegantly through advertising to reduce the price of a service, I think that’s a fantastic thing for fans. And I do think once they see it — because I’ve seen the service in the terms of the designs that we’ve come up with — I think people are going to be so excited about how we’ve been so thoughtful about the insertion of advertising and how it’s a very organic nature of the experience.”
Though this sounds like a good plan for HBO Max, it could be a weird experience for viewers. As a cable channel, HBO doesn’t have ads in their shows. Presumably, this ad-supported tier would mean commercial breaks during shows, like the ad-supported tiers on Hulu or Peacock. But would that also mean having commercials throughout movies? Since Kilar did mention being more thoughtful about the insertion of advertising, maybe there will only be ads within the platform itself. Another option would be having a pre-roll of advertisements and then no interruptions throughout the programming. After all, it might be weird to have commercials playing throughout Godzilla vs. Kong later this month.
No matter how the ads roll out, this will surely help HBO Max subscriber numbers go up later this year, but the streaming service is already ahead of projections. HBO Max is doing so well that they’ve updated their subscriber projections for both 2021 and 2025. By the end of this year, HBO Max expects to have between 67 million and 70 million subscribers worldwide. Further down the road, they expect to have between 120 and 125 million subscribers by the end of 2025.
The new ad-supported tier isn’t the only anticipated boost for subscriber growth though. HBO Max is slated to launch in 60 markets outside of the United States throughout this year. Right now the streaming service isn’t worldwide, which is why Zack Snyder’s Justice League is being released through other providers internationally when it arrives next week.
HBO Max has found great success since Warner Bros. Pictures decided to release Wonder Woman 1984 and their entire 2021 movie slate to the streaming service on the same day the movies hit theaters. However, WarnerMedia is still struggling to reach average customers who don’t know the difference between HBO and HBO Max.
At the end of last year, less than half of those subscribing to HBO through cable hadn’t activated their free HBO Max upgrade. So awareness is clearly an issue that they still need to overcome, and it’s been a problem since the beginning due to the confusion between HBO, HBO Go, HBO Now, and HBO Max. Hopefully as more blockbuster movies arrive on the service, HBO Max will start to stand out and viewers will figure out the best way for them to subscribe.
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