HBO Max to Launch AVOD Version in June

(Image credit: WarnerMedia)

DALLAS—HBO Max is expanding its subscription possibilities, officially announcing that it will launch an ad-supported (AVOD) version of the streaming service to U.S. subscribers in June. This is just one component of AT&T’s HBO Max plans and why the company has upped its projection for global subscriptions in the next few years.

It had previously been announced that HBO Max would be getting an AVOD version at some point in 2021, but there wasn’t a clear timeframe. U.S. consumers can now expect an alternative to HBO Max’s current $14.99/month subscription plan in June, though no official date was provided in AT&T’s press release. 

During a virtual investor meeting, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar said that the only difference between the current premium service and the AVOD version of HBO Max will be that day-and-date releases of Warner Bros. movies will not be available. He also confirmed that advertising would not be placed in HBO original series.  

AT&T also said that it expects to launch HBO Max in 60 markets outside the U.S. in 2021. This includes 39 territories in Latin America and the Caribbean in late June and 21 territories in Europe in the second half of 2021.

All of this has contributed to new projects for HBO Max’s global subscriber growth. In October 2019, AT&T projected HBO Max to have a global subscription base between 75-90 million HBO Max/HBO subscribers by the end of 2025. It is now upping that to a range of 120-150 million.

By the end of 2021, AT&T projects HBO Max/HBO to have a subscriber base of 67-70 million. When the fourth quarter of 2020 ended, the combined subscriptions were around 41 million, with HBO Max accounting for 17.2 million of those.

These projections come on the heels of Disney having recently announced that its streaming service, Disney+, just passed the 100 million global subscriber mark, four years ahead of schedule.

The HBO Max projections were part of an updated strategy and financial outlook from AT&T. Also included in the announcement was AT&T’s plans for the 80 MHz of C-band it acquired in the FCC’s C-band auction. AT&T plans to start deploying 40 MHz of this spectrum by the end of 2021.