Streamer HBO Max Offers Wide Range of Movies, TV Shows

AT&T launched HBO Max this week, with a plan to spend $4.5+ billion on the streaming platform over the next few years. AT&T, which hopes to sign up 50 million HBO Max subscribers by 2025, bought Time Warner for $85.4 billion in 2018 with the idea of creating a significant streaming platform. HBO Max, which costs $15 per month, offers 10,000 hours of programming, including HBO series “Game of Thrones” and “Succession” as well as Warner Bros. hit TV shows such as “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory.”

The New York Times reports that HBO Max will also have “some 2,000 Warner Bros. movies, including the eight Harry Potter films and blockbusters featuring DC Comics superheroes like Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.”

After the acquisition, AT&T veteran John Stankey “broke down the divisions across the newly acquired properties to create WarnerMedia” and told employees that HBO would need to be “broad enough” to build a larger audience. On July 1, Stankey will become AT&T’s chief executive, and NYT notes that, “the future of the revamped AT&T largely depends on HBO Max.”

By choosing former Hulu chief Jason Kilar as WarnerMedia’s new chief executive, the company signaled its “emphasis on streaming media.” Kilar, who has worked closely with WarnerMedia entertainment group chair Robert Greenblatt and head of content Kevin Reilly, is “putting together a future iteration of HBO Max that will allow for commercials” and be a less expensive option. To become as big as AT&T would like it to be, HBO Max will have a “revised brand identity.”

“It’s an attempt to go after every customer,” said venture investor Matthew Ball. “There is no reason to believe the Max-related expansion can’t appeal to every customer Netflix currently has that HBO does not.”

The premium cable HBO network, headed by president of programming Casey Bloys, will continue, although AT&T “hopes that HBO’s 35 million subscribers, each of whom pays $15 a month, will shift their loyalty to HBO Max, which costs the same.” As Stankey said to investors, “Why wouldn’t you want twice the content for the same price?”

There may be a challenge in attracting subscribers “who get HBO through Comcast, Amazon and Roku — three of HBO’s biggest vendors.” NYT reports that, “WarnerMedia is in negotiations with those companies.”

HBO Max Tempts Harry Potter Fans With All 8 Movies at Launch, CNET, 5/27/20
HBO Max Is Live: Here’s Everything You Need to Know, CNET, 5/27/20
HBO Max Is Available Today – Here’s What You Need to Know, Engadget, 5/27/20
Her Role at HBO Max? Challenging Netflix, The New York Times, 5/27/20

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