October 29, 2019
In a gala-like atmosphere on the Warner Bros. lot, John Stankey, CEO of WarnerMedia, Oct. 29 announced the high-profile HBO Max subscription streaming video service would launch in May 2020.
Pricing for the service is $14.99 a month — identical to the current HBO Now streaming service, which is being folded into Max. It will be aggressively marketed to AT&T’s 170 million mobile, broadband and linear TV subscribers.
As expected, an ad-supported version of Max will debut in 2021.
“Just like cable introduced the rise of niche networks to dramatically grow audience, general entertainment streaming is the next great opportunity to aggregate and grow audience,” Stankey said.
Indeed, WarnerMedia, which evolved from AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, is set to spend upwards of $2 billion annually on original content for Max, in addition to a treasure-trove of catalog content from Warner Bros., HBO and Turner.
Max will bow with 31 original series, increasing to 50 series by 2021, according to Kevin Reilly, chief content officer, HBO Max and president, TBS, TNT, and truTV. In all there will be 10,000 hours of premium content at launch, including 1,800 movies.
Warner Bros.’ current box office hit, Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, will also be available at launch.
Notably, Max will not enable subscribers to binge-view original episodic programing, opting instead to distribute shows on a weekly basis — as HBO has done for “Game of Thrones,” “True Detective,” “Big Little Lies,” and “Succession.”
WarnerMedia will make Max available to existing AT&T TV’s HBO subs free for one year. In addition, the service will also be bundled with AT&T TV Now, the telecom’s reboot of standalone online TV service, DirecTV Now.