AT&T revealed last week that U.S. TV viewers will soon have a new ad-supported (AVOD) option for its HBO Max premium OTT subscription service beginning in June.

The move affirms the company’s previously discussed plans for an AVOD offering coming to the U.S., but this was previously only casually mentioned as coming at some point in 2021. The exact day, and any additional terms, like the fee for the lower-priced AVOD tier, however, were not discussed

The plan will bring U.S. consumers an alternative option to the current $14.99 per month paid subscription plan.

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The news came out of an investors virtual meeting, during which WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar mentioned the new AVOD version of HBO Max will bring access to much of what the service offers now, along with ad insertions in all but HBO original series. But it will restrict AVOD users from viewing day-and-date releases of Warner Bros. movies.

Meanwhile, AT&T said it expects to launch HBO Max in 60 markets outside the U.S. in 2021. This will include 39 territories in Latin America and the Caribbean in late June. In addition, 21 territories in Europe are scheduled for the second half of 2021.

With the news, AT&T also announced that it was increasing its expectations for subscriber growth, from between the originally forecast 75-90 million global subscribers by the end of 2025 to between 120-150 million by the end of October 2025.

By the end of this year, AT&T said it expects HBO Max/HBO’s reach to hit a base of between 67-70 million. At the end of Q4-2020 AT&T’s combined service subscribers totaled close to 41 million. HBO Max’s registrations represented 17.2 million of those.

AT&T’s announcements followed disclosures that the Disney+ premium SVOD service reached 100 million global subscribers four years ahead of schedule.

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By Greg Tarr

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