Get ready for Jon Snow “presented by our generous sponsor.”
For the first time in its 47-year history, the HBO brand will become available with advertising, in the latest push to widen distribution of the new streaming service launched in May.
Stankey did not set a date for the new launch or name a price point. He also didn’t say if the service will carry the same name. He did indicate some of the most popular content will remain free from ads and available only to those who subscribe to the premium service.
HBO subscribers receive access to HBO Max for free. The service includes a lot more than just HBO movies and shows—all of Time Warner’s cable channels have a presence on the streamer, and it also programs original content.
There had been speculation over the possible addition of advertising to the streaming network, which, with a cost of $14.99 per month, is higher than most competing services. Netflix’s two most popular subscriptions cost $8.99 and $12.99 (for multiple devices) per month, while Amazon’s
HBO Max did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the change.
AT&T has said it wants HBO and HBO Max to reach 50 million subscribers within the latter’s first five years, and it has already surpassed its first-year goal of 36 million subscribers, the vast majority of them HBO subscribers.
In the interview with Bloomberg, Stankey dismissed any fears of diluting the HBO brand by adding commercials. The pay cable network has always carried an exclusive air and is known for its high-quality programming, such as the recent smash Game of Thrones and throwback hits like The Sopranos.
AT&T has secured distribution for HBO Max across a range of properties, though it remains in a carriage standoff over pricing with Roku and Amazon, the two biggest TV-connected platforms.