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AT&T has confirmed that the ad-supported version of HBO Max will launch in the United States in June of this year. The company expects the AVOD version to greatly help in expanding the HBO Max user base. While not explicitly stated, the ad version is excepted to arrive at a cheaper price point, although how much cheaper still remains unknown.
HBO Max launched in May of 2020 bringing together the entire HBO Max catalog and content from the various other brands and properties owned by WarnerMedia. Resulting in an ideal service to stream Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, TCM, DC, and more. However, priced at $14.99 per month, it is one of the more expensive standalone streaming services currently available.
Ever since the launch of the service, there have been reports and official information coming through that WarnerMedia eventually intends to launch an AVOD version at a cheaper price point. However, firm details on when the service would actually go live had not been provided.
Today, and as part of AT&T’s Analyst & Investor Day, the company confirmed the ad-supported HBO Max service will go live in June of 2021. The AVOD version’s arrival is due to arrive at the same time the company plans to expand HBO Max availability to more countries. According to AT&T, the international expansion will see the streaming service becoming available in 60 markets outside of the United States by the end of the year.
AVOD HBO Max to help grow subscribers
One of the key goals of an ad-supported HBO Max service is to help grow the user base. Not everyone can afford to pay $15 per month for HBO Max and especially when so many other streaming services are considerably cheaper. By offering a ‘with ads’ version, the service will be able to dig deeper into the market and attract subscribers that would have otherwise steered clear. Following the launch of the AVOD version and the international expansion, AT&T expects that by the end of 2025 there will be a total of between 120 million and 150 million combined HBO Max and HBO subscribers.
A cheaper HBO Max will also likely reduce churn for the service. While the company’s dual theatrical and home release of major movies each month is a way to bring subscribers in, the higher than average monthly price runs the risk of consumers signing up, watching the latest move and then unsubscribing again until the next major movie that appeals to them becomes available. A lower price point in general may help to encourage those same users to stay subscribed for longer.
However, in spite of the advantages an ad-supported HBO Max services offers to both WarnerMedia and consumers, it remains to be seen just how much cheaper the AVOD version will be. Although any reduction in price will help attract more people, the level of discount will ultimately determine just how many more consumers HBO Max appeals to.