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HBO Max sets $10 a month price for ad-supported tier

(Image: WarnerMedia/AT&T/Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

AT&T will launch an ad-supported version of its streaming service HBO Max later this year, with an initial price point of $10 a month, according to a report.

On Thursday, CNBC revealed the telecom will launch the cheaper, ad-supported version of HBO Max in June. If true, the price of the subsidized version of HBO Max would be a $5 a month discount off the regular subscription rate for the full, commercial-free version of the streamer, which costs $15 a month.

Shortly after HBO Max launched last year, executives began weighing the possibility of bringing a cheaper, ad-supported version of the streamer to price-conscious consumers. In September, The Desk reported exclusive details of AT&T’s strategy at that time, revealing that the cheaper version of HBO Max would lack access to some episodes of programs that are currently airing on HBO’s linear channel. Customers who wanted access to current episodes would be prompted to upgrade to the full version of HBO Max.

Within hours of the report, an AT&T WarnerMedia executive confirmed to Bloomberg that some programs on the ad-supported tier would remain locked to viewers until they upgrade to a full HBO Max subscription.

At $10 a month, the service would offer access to HBO programming that is otherwise unavailable on most other streamers. But it would still be a higher price compared to competing streamers: For the same price, Paramount Plus offers commercial-free access to thousands of shows and movies. Discovery Plus, which offers reality-based and general knowledge programs, offers commercial-free access to its service for just $8 a month.

The move could also create confusion among consumers, who currently have a myriad of options to subscribe to HBO and HBO Max: The $15 a month subscription is offered to cable and satellite customers and is available as an add-on through YouTube TV, Apple TV Plus and Hulu with Live TV. Less clear is whether the ad-supported version of HBO Max would be made available to consumers through similar agreements or if AT&T will only offer the cheaper subscription directly to consumers.