HBO Max With Ads to Cost $9.99 A Month, Starting First Week of June

Love and Death on HBO Max
(Image credit: HBO Max)

WarnerMedia said it will launch the ad-supported version of HBO Max on June 1 and it will cost $9.99 a month.

HBO and HBO Max have never had ads and cost $15 a month.

“HBO Max with Ads will bring our beloved entertainment brands and franchises to even more consumers at this new, lower price point-while, for the first time, elegantly connecting brands to the premium, iconic IP that defines this service,” Tony Goncalves, executive VP  and chief revenue officer for WarnerMedia, said at the company's upfront presentation Wednesday.

Also Read: TNT, TBS To Show Max Originals in Low-Ad 'Front Row' Windows

Goncalves said HBO Max will have the lowest ad load in streaming.

"Plus we are introducing several new ad formats, including Pause Ads, and Branded Discovery designed to be native and endemic to the way our customers use HBO Max, with more ad Innovation, to come as we test and iterate with our valued Partners," Goncalves said.

"We have already signed deals with most major agencies and Brands across a diverse array of categories. We can't wait to bring more of you," he said. 

In March, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar told investors at AT&T's investor day that the ad supported version of HBO Max had already collected $80 million in upfront commitments.

Both HBO Max tiers offer access to new original programming, as well as of content from entertainment brands including HBO, Warner Bros., DC, Turner Classic Movies, Adult Swim and Cartoon Network.

Subscribers to the ad supported tier of HBO Max will have access to the full HBO Max content catalog, excluding Warner Bros. Same-Day Premiere films debuting in theaters and on HBO Max throughout 2021.

Kilar opened the upfront, noting that most of it was recorded before AT&T and Discovery agreed to a deal to spin off WarnerMedia and combine it with Discovery. The deal would unwind AT&T ill-fated adventure in the media business.

For advertisers, the combination of Discovery and WarnerMedia "forms a new company super-serving advertisers," Kilar said.  

With Discovery CEO named to run the WarnerMedia-Discovery amalgam, Kilar's future with the company is unclear.

During the upfront presentation, WarnerMedia ad sales JP Colaco said that TV is entering a “platinum age, one where we can connect the right content to the right consumer at the right time.”

He said the company can help clients insert its characters into commercials.

“Creative featuring Warner media IP has been 20% more effective at generating sales than traditional brand, creative airing at the same time,” Colaco said.

In addition to intellectual property and broad reach, WarnerMedia offers data science and technology to advertisers. 

"We need to deliver distinct insights that help you, our advertising Partners, reach the audiences and outcomes that matter most,” Colaco said. "Thanks to our unmatched collection of first-party data relationships, we have developed a proprietary insights engine. This is unlike anything else in the industry and the ultimate multiplier.”

WarnerMedia’s data plus AT&T’s mobile and broadband data creates repeatable, effective campaigns that maximize ROI and create a better ad experiences, he said.

WarnerMedia also talked about the thousands of addressable ad campaigns it has run working with DirecTV. AT&T is also spinning off DirecTV in a separate deal.

Katrina Cukaj, Advertising and client partnership lead at WarnerMedia, said WarnerMedia is expanding its addressable footprint beyond its owned and operated outlets.

“Now as we build out or network of distribution partners, we have the ability to execute addressable TV campaigns across 52 million households by the end of the year,” she said.

Addressable ads will be able to run in WarnerMedia’ networks’ 14 minutes per hour of national television inventory. 

The company has begun beta testing with a variety of clients. “Our ability to deliver the largest reach and precision to drive outcomes is a game changer,” she said.

WarnerMedia shows create huge fan communities that can be tapped with special events, Cukaj added. 

She said last year’s inaugural Fandome, brought together the characters from WarnerMedia’s D.C. portfolio in a virtual event. The event reached 22 million people across 220 countries and territories. 

“State Farm, Chevrolet and Lego helped bring this experience to life, engaging fans with custom experiences across all platforms,” she said.

The next D.C. Fandome is set for Oct. 16.

On Oct. 18. WarnerMedia is launching a celebration of Wonder Woman’s 80th anniversary. 

“This new multi-month Believe in Wonder initiative will provide unique access across movies on TNT, digital activations. video games, custom videos and more,” she said. 

The event is designed not only to attract a huge audience, but champion female heroes and diversity, Cukaj said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.