HBO Max with ads: $10/mo starting in June, and guess what it won’t include

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Enlarge / Get the toughest soot stains out of your jerkin with Tide! (credit: Aurich Lawson | HBO | Tide)

In a first for anything HBO-branded, the cable provider will begin offering its content for a lower price, subsidized by advertising, starting the first week of June. Game of Thrones, brought to you by Tide? Advertising is coming.

This new ad-supported tier structure is part of the wider WarnerMedia streaming service HBO Max. We first learned of this tier in March but now know it will cost $10 per month, as opposed to the existing $15/mo rate without advertisements. That $5/mo savings comes from more than advertising, however: WarnerMedia has confirmed that the ad-supported tier will not include “Warner Bros. Same-Day Premiere” films slated to simul-launch in theaters and on HBO Max through the remainder of 2021 (including Dune, The Matrix 4, and The Suicide Squad).

In a Wednesday press release, WarnerMedia describes the new tier as the “lightest ad load among ad-supported streamers.” Exactly how that will play out remains unclear, however, since the announcement’s language is clearly written to entice advertisers, not viewers. The announcement currently includes three examples of HBO Max ads: full-screen advertisements while content is paused; ads placed in the service’s search interface; and “brand blocks,” which appear to let a single advertiser “own a block of content” (presumably with “this episode was brought to you with limited ads by so-and-so” messaging, as opposed to Conan O’Brien’s upcoming, HBO Max-exclusive series having episodes dominated by specific bottles of hot sauce).

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