Does an ad-supported HBO Max make sense, really?

Police Academy films (see: HBO Max Launches – Here’s What Everything Looks Like Inside #HBOmax)

Hulu has an ad-supported subscription, Netflix does not. HBO has always been a premium service without ads, but is strongly considering this option.

Should they abandon this idea?

Even before HBO Max launched, WarnerMedia promised an ad-supported subscription tier would be available in 2021. Apparently the dynamics of this proposed subscription, especially considering they still haven’t closed a deal to put HBO Max on Roku and Amazon Fire Stick, is proving to be challenging.

HBO Max’s apparent rat’s nest of complications reportedly involves not only existing contractual issues but extends to branding, pricing, and increased competition in the streaming space. Right now Netflix goes for $12, Disney+ goes for $7, and ad-free Hulu goes for $12, and HBO Max launched at its steeper $15-per-month price point to keep its cost identical to what cable distributors charge for traditional HBO. A new, super-stuffed version at a discounted rate didn’t make a lot of sense when HBO Max finally launched.

HBO Max’s Ad Scheme Is a Disaster

Can see a case made for both no ads and the addition of a Hulu-style ad-supported less cost plan. From a user perspective, it really boils down to how obnoxious the ads are. If they go the Crackle route, forget about it. Too many ads on Crackle. A 90 minute movie can take more than two hours to watch and that’s crazy. Maybe it’s gotten better since the last time I watched something there.

From an increasing the number of subscribers standpoint, $14.99/month is prohibitive. $4.99 or even $7.99/month plans would definitely increase the subscriber base.

Here’s an idea: cut a deal with Roku and Amazon for the Fire stick. That will net them a ton of new subscribers, even if the price stays at $14.99/month.

What do you think?

4 thoughts on “Does an ad-supported HBO Max make sense, really?

    1. Peacock’s “no ad” plan for $9.99/month has some ads, still. I think Netflix has the golden model: if you’re over $10/month for a service it’s pretty well established with us that we don’t want to see ads for a streaming movie/TV service.

      Maybe HBO Max will just abandon the plan to have ads. It does mar their brand somewhat which is known for premium no-ads model like Netflix. If they want to do ads then use their Cinemax to have a less expensive ad-supported model.


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