: HBO Max to launch ad-supported tier in June, for $9.99 a month

United States

A cheaper, ad-supported version of HBO Max will be available to consumers in the first week of March.

AT&T Inc.’s T, -2.00% WarnerMedia announced Wednesday that the new tier will cost $ 9.99 a month, compared to the current $ 14.99-a-month, ad-free subscription plan.

At $ 14.99 — $ 1 more than the most popular Netflix NFLX, +0.29% plan — HBO Max is the most expensive streaming service. While cheaper, the new ad-supported plan is still more expensive than comparable ad-supported tiers from Disney’s DIS, -0.24% Hulu ($ 5.99), Comcast’s CMCSA, -1.29% Peacock ($ 4.99) and ViacomCBS’s VIAC, -1.17% Paramount+ ($ 5.99).

HBO Max’s ad-supported tier will not include first-run Warner Bros. movies, which are streaming on the ad-free tier for 30 days starting the day they hit theaters, throughout 2021. But it reportedly will include HBO-branded shows, which will air without commercial breaks.

Even with commercials, HBO Max will offer “the lightest ad load in the streaming industry,” said JP Colaco, head of advertising sales for WarnerMedia, in a statement.

Ads will be tightly targeted at subscribers, and some appearing in blocks at the start of shows and others appearing when the screen is paused.

AT&T shares have sunk more than 10% this week, in the wake of news that it will spin off WarnerMedia to form a new media company with Discovery Inc. DISCA, -0.60%.