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AT&T’s John Stankey Says HBO Max’s Future Includes an AVOD Option

Fern Siegel

HBO Max launched yesterday — but the company is already planning to release an ad-supported version.

That’s according to John Stankey, AT&T’s incoming CEO, who expects the move early next year. Stankey was the CEO of WarnerMedia, a division of AT&T, until recently.

“We believe the long-term dynamics will be both subscription and advertising-supported. If you think about what consumers like, they like choice,” told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “You don’t necessarily mind ads, if they’re executed well and they’re relevant.”

There’s no word on what the AVOD would cost; HBO Max is $15/month, higher than its rivals. Disney+ is $7/month and Netflix’s standard plan is $13/month. Amazon Prime Video comes with a $12.99/month Prime subscription, while Peacock, from Comcast, debuts nationally on July 15 with a free, ad-supported tier, a premium ad-supported tier for $4.99 and an ad-free version for $9.99.

HBO Max launched with 10,000 hours of content, which included movies from the Criterion Collection, Studio Ghibli, Warner Bros. Films, Sesame Workshop and HBO’s library. It also has super-popular TV shows, such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “Friends,” as well as all eight “Harry Potter” movies.

According to Sensor Tower, HBO Max was downloaded on mobile devices 87,000 times on its first day. That figure includes downloads from Apple’s App Store and the Google Play app store. But it doesn’t include any downloads from streaming devices, like Apple TV, which would be substantial.

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