WarnerMedia and AT&T are planning to launch a cheaper, ad-supported version of the HBO Max streaming platform in the future, AT&T said during a presentation Friday. The cheaper version could be available as soon as June, but no price point has been confirmed. HBO Max is one of the more expensive streaming platforms on the market today, costing $14.99 a month for consumers without AT&T promotions.
During the presentation, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar confirmed the classic HBO content will not be edited to feature ads on the ad-supported version, reports The Wrap. However, subscribers of the lower tier will not have access to the day-and-date Warner Bros. movies being released this year. "The main difference is going to be the theatrical premieres," Kilar explained. "They will be in the current version of HBO Max, they will not be in the advertising-supported version of HBO Max. So those will be, by that point in time, about seven movies."
Kilar said the company already picked up $80 million in advertising commitments for the ad-supported version of HBO Max. AT&T will also be releasing HBO Max in 60 markets outside the U.S. in June. The company also raised its subscriber goals for the new platform. They believe between 120 and 150 million subscribers will be using HBO Max and HVO by the end of 2025. The company ended 2020 with 61 million HBO and HBO Max subscribers. AT&T expects to add between 7 million and 10 million this year.
Back in December, AT&T and WarnerMedia announced their unprecedented decision to release almost every 2021 Warner Bros. movie on HBO Max the same day they hit theaters. After 30 days on HBO Max, the movies will go back to being only available in theaters before the traditional home video window opens. The next big release is Godzilla vs. Kong, which opens on March 31. Mortal Kombat, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, In The Heights, Space Jam: A New Legacy, The Suicide Squad, Reminiscence, Malignant, The Many Saints of Newark, Dune, King Richard, and The Matrix 4 will also be released on HBO Max the same day they open in theaters.
"Our number one priority in 2021 is growing our customer relationships," AT&T CEO John Stankey said in a statement Friday, reports ComicBook. "It's about more than just adding to our customer base. It's about expanding the growth opportunity in our three market focus areas and also increasing our share within each market. We're focused on creating deeper relationships with our current customers to increase their daily engagement with our products and services, enabling us to gather more meaningful insights, drive loyalty, and stay ahead of their rapidly changing preferences. As demand for connectivity and content continues to grow, we are well positioned to deliver."