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WarnerMedia Looking to Launch HBO Max Ad-Supported Tier in Spring 2021

Stephanie Sengwe

It looks like WarnerMedia will be debuting its ad-supported HBO Max tier as soon as next spring. According to Digiday, the company has started the process of recruiting ad buyers and has been pitching the second quarter of 2021 as their potential launch date.

Some executives are also eyeing a late first-quarter launch, which would coincide with the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, Digiday reports.

Ad buying negotiations have been a bit rocky for the company seeing as though their free tier comes with some limits. For one, there will be no advertising on HBO shows as well as some of HBO Max’s top programming.

Another bump in the road is the fact that HBO Max is yet to reach agreements with Amazon and Roku, the two biggest connected TV platforms, making agency executives question the extent of exposure that their ads would be getting.

Just last week, a survey to customers gave a little insight into what the ad-supported tier of the service would look like.

According to the survey, HBO Max would come with two subscription offers. The HBO Max plan would keep the service as it is today, offering all content without ads. The HBO Max with Ads plan, however, would feature ads in select content, including Max originals. Ads would be between two to four minutes per hour of viewing, less than competitors such as Hulu.