AT&T Inc in May will launch its HBO Max streaming service with a new “Game of Thrones” series at the current HBO price of $15 a month in an aggressive move to battle Netflix, Disney and Apple for the future of TV.
The service will offer new originals from Ridley Scott, Greg Berlanti, Mindy Kaling, Elizabeth Banks, Issa Rae, Conan O’Brien, Looney Tunes, Cartoon Network Studios and more.
“With this entire company coming together, we will have one of the most robust collections of premium streaming content that will appeal to all demographics in the household, and be able to achieve incredible scale and reach right out of the gate,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer.
Launching in May of 2020, WarnerMedia will be making HBO Max available to customers in the U.S. for $14.99 per month. The company is targeting 50 million domestic subscribers and 75 - 90 million premium subscribers by year-end in 2025 across the U.S., Latin America and Europe. At launch, AT&T will immediately offer HBO Max to the roughly 10 million HBO subscribers on AT&T distribution platforms, at no additional charge. HBO Now direct-billed users who subscribe directly through HBONow.com will also have access to WarnerMedia’s HBO Max product. AT&T customers on premium video, mobile and broadband services will be offered bundles with HBO Max included at no additional charge.
HBO Max will launch with 10,000 hours of curated content including the entire HBO service, bundled with new HBO Max Originals that expand the breadth of the offering targeted at young adults, kids and families. HBO Max will pull from WarnerMedia’s library of fan favorites in its 100-year content collection, including library content from Warner Bros., New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes and more. HBO Max will also offer a selection of third party acquired series and movie titles that will rival any other streaming offering in the marketplace.
Within the first year of launch WarnerMedia plans to expand the service to include an AVOD option, offering consumers access to even more content, with more flexibility to manage the overall price value options on the platform.
The company also announced plans in the future to provide subscribers with live, interactive and special event programming as it continues to build out and differentiate HBO Max.
AT&T intends to expand HBO Max beyond the U.S., initially prioritizing Latin America and Europe where the company currently has ownership interest in or operates premium HBO networks, and has over-the-top services.
AT&T intends to invest significantly in HBO Max, with an incremental investment of $1.5 to $2 billion in the partial year of 2020 and continued investment in following years. That investment includes spending for new content, foregone licensing revenue of our content, operating expense for the technology platform, and marketing.
Ahead of the presentation, HBO canceled a much-anticipated prequel to the “Game of Thrones” starring Naomi Watts, one source familiar with the matter said, confirming reports in Hollywood media.
Instead, WarnerMedia executives announced 10 episodes of a new “Game of Thrones” prequel called “House of Dragons.” The series will be set 300 years before the events of the just-concluded series and is based on author George R.R. Martin’s book “Fire & Blood.”