HBO Max App Launches On LG Smart TVs in U.S.

LG Electronics USA and WarnerMedia Aug. 3 announced that the HBO Max app is now available on LG Smart TVs in the U.S., including its line-up of LG OLED TVs. The arrival of Max comes on the heels of the launch of SVOD/AVOD platform on LG Smart TVs across select territories in Latin America and the Caribbean in June.

LG Smart TV owners can now access Max on the TV’s webOS platform by opening the app using their remote or when available, by saying “HBO Max” into their LG Magic Remote.

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The launch of Max on LG Smart TVs comes as Warner Bros. Pictures is set to release The Suicide Squad in theaters and on Max on Aug. 5 — the latter available on the platform for 31 days in 4K Ultra HD, HDR 10 and Dolby Vision.

Additional Max programming rolling out this summer includes the new comedy special, “Tig Nataro: Drawn”; returning series “Back On The Record With Bob Costas”; a new documentary series, “Small Town News: KPVM Pahrump”; and a new season of “Hard Knocks: The Dallas Cowboys” from HBO Sports and NFL Films. Fans can also catch up on the Emmy

Award-winning Max Original series “The Flight Attendant” and “Hacks” are also set to bow their second season premieres. Additionally, this fall brings the same-day theatrical release of Dune, and the anticipated third season of the critically-acclaimed Emmy Award-winning series “Succession.”

LG OLED TVs feature more than 8 million self-lit pixels that can be individually controlled, resulting in claimed perfect black, over a billion rich colors and infinite contrast, and featuring Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. The LG OLED C series is currently the top-selling premium TV series in the U.S., according to LG.

Dish Ends Carriage Dispute, Adds HBO Max, HBO, Cinemax Access to Satellite TV Subs

Dish Network July 29 announced it is making the HBO Max streaming platform, as well as HBO and Cinemax, available to satellite TV subscribers nationwide through a new agreement with WarnerMedia. For a limited time, Dish is offering subs a 10-day free preview of HBO and Cinemax from Aug. 6 through August 15.

Ever since AT&T acquired Time Warner, creating WarnerMedia, Dish has been at an impasse regarding carriage agreements for the latter’s premium networks HBO and Cinemax. As a result, the two have been unavailable to Dish subscribers — until now.

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Dish customers can subscribe to the ad-free Max option for $12 per month for up to 12 months when they subscribe by Oct. 27. The standard rate is $14.99 per month. The subscription includes access to the entire HBO service and Max Originals. Dish subs can also subscribe to Cinemax for $10 per month. Subs get three live channels, including Cinemax, 5-Star Max and More Max, as well as access to thousands of movies on demand.

“Today’s launch with Dish is a key addition to our distribution strategy for the platform,” Scott Miller, EVP of business and legal affairs for WarnerMedia, said in a statement.

This summer, Max features the first film in the “Music Box” series, Woodstock 99: Peace, Love and Rage; the new comedy special Tig Nataro: Drawn; returning series “Back on the Record With Bob Costas”; a new documentary series, “Small Town News: KPVM Pahrump”; and a new season of “Hard Knocks: The Dallas Cowboys” from HBO Sports and NFL Films.

Subs can also catch up on the Emmy-nominated Max Original series “The Flight Attendant” and “Hacks” ahead of their anticipated second season premieres. This fall brings new limited series “Scenes From a Marriage,” starring Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, and the anticipated third season of Emmy Award-winning series “Succession.”

On-demand HBO and Cinemax content requires an internet-connected Dish Hopper or Wally. Access to the Max app requires a compatible streaming device and internet connection.

New Elmo, Looney Tunes Specials Coming to HBO Max in August

The HBO Max streaming service in August will debut new “Sesame Street” and “Looney Tunes” animated specials.

Furry Friends Forever: Elmo Gets a Puppy premieres Aug. 5. When “Sesame Street” stars Elmo and Grover discover a sweet stray puppy, they set out on an adventure to help find their new furry friend Tango a forever home. Bursting with heartfelt, original songs and vivid animation, the half-hour special follows Elmo as he learns how to feed Tango, give her a bath, and take her for walks — all with a little help from pals Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby and Big Bird. Promoting ways animal lovers of all ages can best care for their pets, Furry Friends Forever: Elmo Gets a Puppy celebrates the arrival of 123 Sesame Street’s new “fur”-ever friend.

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Looney Tunes Cartoons Back to School Special arrives Aug. 19. Going back to school can be daunting, especially after a looney summer. Join everyone’s favorite toons as they buckle up and learn a thing or two. Daffy learns that cheaters never prosper, Foghorn Leghorn learns the pencil is mightier than the sword, and Beaky learns how to be a better buzzard.

Warner Acquires Feature ‘The Fallout’ for HBO Max

Warner Bros. Pictures has acquired worldwide rights to the SXSW multiple-award-winning feature The Fallout for HBO Max.

Written and directed by Megan Park in her feature filmmaking debut, the film won the Grand Jury and Audience Awards for Narrative Feature, and Park won the Brightcove Illumination Award honoring a filmmaker on the rise at this year’s SXSW Film Festival. The film will release exclusively on HBO Max where available globally and will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures in the balance of international markets.

The cast includes Jenna Ortega, along with Maddie Ziegler, Niles Fitch, Will Ropp, Lumi Pollack, John Ortiz, Julie Bowen and Shailene Woodley.

The story follows high schooler Vada (Ortega) as she navigates the emotional fallout she experiences in the wake of a school tragedy. Relationships with her family and friends, as well as her view of the world, are forever altered.

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“Making The Fallout was a journey I never expected to take and one that has changed me forever,” stated Park. “If by seeing this film just one teen feels less alone, less afraid, or somehow understood, that will make the journey worth every step.”

“What Megan Park has created with The Fallout is a sensitive and moving story, marking a stunning debut behind the camera, with an exceptional young cast led by a revelatory and powerful performance by Jenna Ortega and an emotionally impactful turn from Maddie Ziegler,” Carolyn Blackwood, COO of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, said in a statement.

“We shot the film during the height of COVID, and despite all the stoppages and setbacks, we knew we had to tell this story now. HBO Max is the perfect home for this film, and we are pleased to be working with the whole team at Warner Bros. to bring the film to audiences around the world,” stated producers Shaun Sanghani, David Brown, Rebecca Miller and Cara Shine.

The Fallout was produced by Shaun Sanghani of SSS Entertainment and David Brown of Clear Horizon alongside Rebecca Miller, Cara Shine and Todd Lundbohm. Joannie Burstein and Giulia Prenna also produced.

WarnerMedia Kids & Family Adds Preschool Fare on Pending Cartoonito Platform

WarnerMedia Kids & Family July 27 announced the expansion of its Cartoonito’s preschool slate with recently greenlit animated series “Dylan,” as well as three animated acquisitions: “Bing,” “Odo,” and “Pocoyo.” The growing roster joins previously announced series “Batwheels,” “Little Ellen,” multiple forthcoming projects from best-selling children’s book author Mo Willems, and more, that will be available on the upcoming preschool programming block launching this fall on HBO Max and Cartoon Network.

Cartoonito was announced at the WarnerMedia Kids & Family Upfront earlier this year and is WarnerMedia’s biggest commitment to preschool in 100 years. Launching later this year on HBO Max and CartoonNetwork, Cartoonito offers a modern approach to preschool programming with its proprietary educational framework, Humancentric Learning, that aims to support every child’s humanness by celebrating their unique selves.

All Cartoonito preschool content will align with Humancentric Learning and Cartoon Network’s refreshed brand promise, Redraw Your World, which fosters self-expression and creativity.

New series include:

“Dylan” — Based on the book series by best-selling illustrator/author Guy Parker-Rees, Dylan is a CG animated interactive comedy about a highly imaginative, multi-colored striped dog who is eager to play pretend every career, from a train conductor to a nurse to an astronaut. With just some basic props and some great friends, Dylan transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary, jumping feet first into every adventure that comes his way. Fueled by creativity, Dylan models best of play and improv leading to wildly original escapades that empower and encourage kids to trust their hearts, imaginations and each other. A CBC original series, Dylan is developed by Toronto-based 9 Story Media Group and produced by 9 Story’s award-winning, Ireland-based animation studio Brown Bag Films.

“Bing” celebrates the joyful, messy reality of preschool life and finds the big stories in the little moments. Bing is a lovable, authentic preschooler, who lives very much in the present moment. Each moment brings new experiences for Bing, which often lead to a bump, spillage or temporary disappointment. By Bing’s side, through it all, is Flop, whose patience and encouragement help Bing, along with his audience, to experience and learn from life’s unpredictable moments. Produced by Acamar Films, in association with Brown Bag Films, Bing has achieved iconic success since it launched in the UK in 2014, winning the International Emmy for Best Children’s Program, the Writer’s Guild Award for Best Writing in a Children’s Program, and a BAFTA nomination for Best Children’s Program. Bing is broadcast in 130 territories worldwide and was originally adapted for television by Acamar Films from the bestselling preschool books written and illustrated by Ted Dewan.

Created by Colin Williams and produced by Sixteen South and Letko, “Odo” is a charming and warm-hearted preschool animated series that welcomes kids ages three to five to a world full of possibilities. Although he is one of the littlest campers at the Forest Camp for Young Birds, Odo the owl knows he can do absolutely anything that he sets his mind to. With gender-neutral appeal, Odo also deals with important themes such as immigration, racism, respect for others and shows kids how to deal with setbacks in a meaningful way while promoting the development of self-efficacy and encouraging kids to believe in themselves.

“Pocoyo” is a preschool series created and produced by Zinkia Entertainment.  It tells the story of a curious little boy discovering the world around him, and accompanied by his best friends: Pato, Elly, Sleepy Bird and a whole cast of surprising and delightful characters.  Over the years, Pocoyo has been recognized with more than 40 international awards, including a BAFTA for the Best Preschool Series and the Annecy Crystal.

Hub: Ad-Supported SVOD Tiers Gaining Popularity

As the cost of stacking multiple streaming subscriptions rises, free-ad-supported TV (FAST) platforms are gaining users. But new data from Hub Research’s annual “Monetization of Video” study suggests that tiered platforms — where viewers can choose between a paid, ad-free option and a less expensive (or free), ad-supported option — appeal to the largest cross-section of viewers.

In the survey, conducted in June among 1,607 U.S. TV viewers age 16-74, respondents were divided into two groups. Each group was asked to choose from three hypothetical streaming services with identical content.

Group one chose from a paid, ad-free subscription, a free-with-ads service, and a paid, limited-ads subscription (“fewer ads than you’d see on regular live TV”).

Group two chose from the same options, except the limited-ads service was replaced with a paid service offering two tiers to choose from: ad-free and ad-supported.

According to the data, almost twice as many consumers chose the service with tiered options (36%) as the service with a limited-ad option only (19%).

The percentage of respondents choosing the tiered service was just as high as the percentage choosing free-with-ads, and higher than the percentage choosing the service with only a single, ad-free option.

In a question asked before the ad-supported tier of HBO Max launched in June, almost 40% of current HBO Max respondents said they’d consider switching to the ad-supported tier. But more than a quarter of those who don’t subscribe to Max said they’d consider signing up with a less-expensive ad-supported tier as an option.

“It’s true that some TV viewers will do almost anything, including paying a premium, to avoid ads. But there are many who will choose ad-supported TV if it saves money or lets them watch a show they can’t watch somewhere else,” Jon Giegengack, one of the study’s authors, said in a statement. “Tiered plans give viewers control of their experience. Whether they watch with ads or not, everyone is getting an experience they chose, and not one chosen for them.”

Jason Kilar: Warner Bros. Producing 10 More Theatrical Releases Streaming Concurrently on HBO Max in 2022

WarnerMedia made headlines releasing the entire 2021 Warner Bros. theatrical slate concurrently on HBO Max for a movie’s first 31 days of release.

WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, speaking on the company’s July 22 fiscal call, said the controversial strategy through six months reveals the enduring importance of the box office ($463 million in revenue domestically through June 30) coupled with the impact technology has made on distribution.

“Clearly motion pictures matter and will continue to matter when it comes to theatrical exhibition,” Kilar said. “They also matter at home, and absolutely in terms of the response that we’ve gotten … from all of our day-and-date titles. We feel very good about the response that consumers have given it in the home.”

Jason Kilar

As the exhibition business turns the page on the pandemic and more moviegoers are vaccinated, Kilar, who is on tap to remain CEO of WarnerMedia into next year heading into the completion of the Discovery merger, doesn’t anticipate movie distribution returning to the lengthy theatrical window.

He said that while some Warner titles in 2022 will have a 45-day window, the studio is also going to be producing more than 10 movies that will be available on HBO Max and in theaters on day one.

“I think that what you’re going to see is this industry continues to evolve, and to continue to innovate in ways that not only works for consumers and fans, but also works for our business partners,” Kilar said.

Separately, AT&T CEO John Stankey said the telecom has heard nothing from federal regulators regarding the merger that will transform WarnerMedia into Warner Bros. Discovery and see Discovery CEO Davis Zaslav running the unit.

Stankey said the regulatory process involves document production and providing information that’s responsive to the government’s requests to begin the reviews.

“No news is good news,” he said. “I’ll tell you internally, all the normal steps are going on to be prepared operationally for when we would expect an approval. It’s not a complicated transaction.”

HBO and HBO Max Add 2.8 Million Combined Q2 Subs

AT&T July 22 announced that its WarnerMedia subscription streaming video service, HBO Max, and HBO pay-TV channel added 2.8 million combined subscribers in the second quarter (ended June 30).

The platforms ended the period with 47 million combined subs, a gain of 10.7 million subs over the past year, and 67.5 million globally, up 12 million.

WarnerMedia ended the quarter with more than 12 million standalone HBO Max subscribers in the United States and 31.5 million transitioned subs from HBO pay-TV. HBO ended the quarter with 32,000 U.S. pay-TV subs and 3.5 million commercial subs — the former reflecting increased migration of subscribers from linear TV to streaming.

The company’s 20.5 million international Max and HBO subs consist of domestic and international, and exclude free trials, basic and Cinemax subscribers.

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AT&T now expects to generate upwards of 73 million global HBO Max/HBO subscribers by the end of this year. Max launched nationwide May 27, 2020.

Subscription revenue increased 21.3% to $4 billion, primarily reflecting the 38.5% growth of direct-to-consumer Max and HBO subscription revenue following the launch of Max in the year-ago quarter.

“HBO Max had another strong quarter and is ahead of plan to be a leading direct-to-consumer streaming platform, with both subscriber- and ad-supported choices,” AT&T CEO John Stankey said in a statement.

Season One of ‘Superman & Lois’ Flying to Blu-ray and DVD Oct. 19 With Extended Episodes

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Oct. 19 will release Superman & Lois: The Complete First Season on Blu-ray Disc and DVD with extended versions of all 15 episodes.

The series stars Tyler Hoechlin and Elizabeth Tulloch as Clark Kent/Superman and Lois Lane, who are now married and raising twin teenage sons, Jordan (Alex Garfin) and Jonathan (Jordan Elsass). When Jordan stars exhibiting superpowers like his father, the Kents move back to Smallville, where they uncover a scheme by businessman Morgan Edge (Adam Rayner) to transform the population into an army of Kryptonian soldiers.

The cast also includes Dylan Walsh, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Erik Valdez, Inde Navarrette and Wolé Parks.

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Blu-ray and DVD extras include the “Superman & Lois” DC FanDome panel, plus the featurettes “Superman: Alien Spirit,” “Superman and Lois Legacy of Hope” and “Never Alone: Heroes and Allies.”

The first season of “Superman & Lois” will also be available for digital purchase and can be streamed exclusively on HBO Max starting Aug. 20. The season finale airs Aug. 17 on the CW.

 

 

 

HBO Max Orders Rock Climbing Competition Series Starring Jason Momoa

Aquaman is heading to the mountains.

HBO Max July 20 announced it has greenlighted an eight-episode order for a rock-climbing competition series called “The Climb,” with Aquaman star Jason Momoa, through his production company On the Roam, rock climber Chris Sharma, and series creators The Intellectual Property Corporation, an Industrial Media company.

The series is described as a “visually arresting and life-changing” adventure that represents the foundations of rock climbing and the exploration of the human spirit. Amateur climbers are put through a series of mental and physical challenges, utilizing the most intimidating ascents in the world to crown the world’s best amateur climber.

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“We are thrilled to be working with Jason Momoa and IPC on this cinematic approach to a physical competition show with Mother Nature providing the most beautiful and challenging of obstacle courses,” Jennifer O’Connell, EVP of nonfiction and live-action family programming of HBO Max, said in a statement.

Founded in 2016 and acquired by Industrial Media in 2018, Intellectual Property Corporation’s recent productions include “Indian Matchmaking” and “Night Stalker” (Netflix); “Selena + Chef” (HBO Max); “We’re Here” and “The Swamp” (HBO); “This Is Paris” (YouTube Originals); “The Last Narc” (Amazon); “The Substitute” (Nickelodeon); “Empires of New York” (CNBC); and “The Con” (ABC).

Momoa’s On the Roam production company in August will release action/thriller Sweet Girl for Netflix. It is currently in production on an eponymous unscripted series for Discovery+.