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New Study: Consumers Prefer Ad-Supported Streaming Tiers to Paid Subscriptions

Aubrey Meister

Many consumers are choosing to cut the cord and create their own package of streaming services. This means that streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, and more are having to fight for subscribers. A new study from Hub Entertainment Research gives some insight into how consumers choose how to stream.

According to the new study, almost twice as many consumers prefer tiered subscription services that offer a paid, ad-free option and a free or less expensive ad-supported option. 19% of consumers surveyed chose the service with limited ads (fewer than live TV), while 36% selected the tiered service.

More affordable ad-supported services also appeal to non-subscribers. In the study, non-subscribers were asked whether they would subscribe to HBO Max’s ad-supported tier. The report notes, “40% of current subs would consider switching to the ad-supported tier. But a quarter of target non-subscribers would consider signing up.”

Many streaming services offer ad-supported tiers at a lower cost than their ad-free tiers. In June, HBO Max launched an ad-supported tier at $9.99 per month, saving subscribers $5 per month compared to the ad-free version. Hulu’s consumers prefer the ad-supported tier over the ad-free tier.

Hub Entertainment Research reports that consumers are now subscribed to an average of six streaming services. Taking advantage of ad-supported tiers is a good way for consumers to save a little bit of money wherever they can while still subscribing to all of their favorite streaming services.


HBO Max is a subscription video streaming service that gives access to the full HBO library, along with exclusive Max Originals, and access to every Warner Bros. film on HBO Max on the same day that it hits theaters.

HBO Max has two tiers, an ad-supported plan for $9.99 and ad-free plan for $14.99. HBO Max without ads also includes features like the ability to download offline and 4K streaming.

Subscribers will have access to hit HBO series like Succession, Mare of Easttown, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and more.

All HBO Max subscribers will get the full libraries of shows like “Friends”, “The Big Bang Theory”, “South Park”, “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”, “The West Wing”, and more.

They also will get Max Originals that aren’t available to HBO channel subscribers, like “The Flight Attendant” (Kaley Cuoco), “Love Life” (Anna Kendrick), as well as reboots to “Sex In The City” and “Gossip Girl.”

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“It’s true that some TV viewers will do almost anything, including paying a premium, to avoid ads. But there are many who will choose ad-supported TV if it saves money or lets them watch a show they can’t watch somewhere else. Tiered plans give viewers control of their experience. Whether they watch with ads or not, everyone is getting an experience they chose, and not one chosen for them.” Jon Giegengack, Principal at Hub Entertainment Research said.

1,607 U.S. broadband consumers between the ages of 16 and 74 and watch at least one hour of TV per week were surveyed for the study. They were asked to choose between three streaming services that offer the same content.


Disney+ is an ad-free video streaming service that offers exclusive series and films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, The Muppets, and more.

The Disney streaming service costs $7.99 / month, or $79.99 / year ($6.67 / month). You can bundle it with Hulu and ESPN+ for just $13.99 a month (cheaper than Netflix).

The app supports unlimited downloads, four simultaneous streamers, up to 7 profiles, 4K streaming, and includes hundreds of avatars.

The service includes 25+ new original series, 10+ original movies, 7,500 past episodes, 100 recent movies, and 400 library titles including the entire Disney Vault. The company announced 6 original shows and movies that will be available at launch, including the $100 million 8-episode Star Wars spin-off, The Mandalorian which was directed by Jon Favreau.

You can see the full list of available Disney, Disney Channel, Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, Nat Geo shows and movies, or all available Disney Plus content by checking out our Disney+ Streaming Movie List.

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