HBO Max was on the pricier side of streaming services with a $15/month subscription, compared to Netflix’s popular Standard plan, which recently went up to $14, and Disney+ that went up to $8 in March. To tackle this problem, WarnerMedia is introducing a new $10/month tier for Max – but there’s a catch. Well, two catches actually.
You’ve already guessed the first, it’s an ad-supported tier. It will be available later this year and company has committed to “having the lightest ad load in the streaming industry”. That will come in three forms.
It starts with Brand Block, which is where a particular brand owns the content and puts its ads on it. Coming soon are Pause Ads, which only play when you’ve paused the show or movie. The third option (also coming soon) is Branded Discovery, which will sprinkle ads into the recommendation screen.
We mentioned that there is another catch – besides missing out on an ad-free experience, you will not be able to stream Warner Bros. movies on the same day they hit theaters. Same-day streaming is one of the biggest draws of HBO Max, but you’ll need to pay the $15 a month if you want that.
Even so, you will have access to a huge catalog of existing content from HBO, Warner Bros., DC, Turner Classic Movies, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network and more. Plus, there new seasons of popular shows on the way, including Legendary, The Flight Attendant, Search Party and even a Friends reunion.
HBO Max is set to expand to 39 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean next month, but only the ad-free tier will be available. Parts of Europe will see older HBO streaming services be replaced by Max later this year, again starting with only the ad-free (and thus pricier) tier.
Maybe that will come later and will be good for those who want to try out the service, but aren’t sure it’s worth $15 a month. Hulu has a similar setup, by the way, where the $6/mo subscription has ads and you need to go up to $12/mo to watch without ads.