A few weeks ago, WarnerMedia’s new CEO, Jason Kilar, met with a group of executives developing a version of the company’s HBO Max streaming service that would carry commercials. WarnerMedia plans to make this version cheaper than the $15 a month commercial-free offering that debuted last month.
After reviewing the plan, Kilar politely told the group to try again. For one, the volume of ads it planned to run was too high and would turn consumers off. He told the group it was too focused on revenue goals—which he didn’t see as possible to achieve if customers didn’t want the service in the first place. “He thought they had made a mistake,” said one executive who spoke to Kilar about the issue. “He said we prioritized the ad experience over the consumer experience.”