<img src = "https://cdn.arstechnica.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Screen-Shot-2021-03-12-at-2.39.42-PM-800×434.png" alt = " One shot from the coming dune Customization that hits theaters and HBO Max this year. "/>
Enlarge /. A shot from the upcoming Dune adaptation that will hit theaters and HBO Max this year.
In June of this year, HBO Max will receive a cheaper, advertising-financed subscription, the parent company AT&T announced to investors today. However, a specific price and start date were not disclosed. Currently, an ad-free subscription to HBO Max in the US costs $ 14.99 per month.
There's one big catch, though: the ad-supported version of the service won't stream Warner Bros' much-lauded theatrical releases. Those films include Wonder Woman 1984, which was shown simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters in December 2020, and Dune, which is slated to premier this year.
HBO, along with Paramount +, Hulu, and a few other streaming services, will offer (at least) two tiers – one relatively inexpensive with pre-roll or mid-roll advertising and one with a higher monthly fee with no ads. However, some of HBO Max's competitors, like Disney + or Netflix, don't sell ads at all.
This is noteworthy in part because HBO has long been ad-free as a premium pay channel – something that was unusual in the TV industry before streaming services like Netflix began to dominate. That said, HBO Max contains more than just HBO's original programming. It also contains films and series from various other WarnerMedia brands and studios.
Given HBO's history as an ad-free channel, representatives of the service say that content from HBO – that is, content created for the Premium Network – will remain ad-free, even though content for and from other brands may contain advertisements.
Coupled with this announcement, HBO Max representatives expect the company to reach between 67 and 70 million subscribers by the end of 2021 and between 120 and 125 million subscribers by the end of 2025.
The service is also expected to roll out in 60 new markets outside of the United States this year. This includes 39 areas in Latin America and the Caribbean in June and 21 areas in Europe in the second half of the year.