By Brandon T. McClure
The next battle in the streaming wars is beginning to heat up. At one time, there were only two major services that operated similar to television networks. Netflix and Hulu were the only game in town and, not only did they offer original content, but also content from various studios. This month, WarnerMedia announced the name of their new streaming service: HBO Max.
A couple of details were also released for the new service. Like Disney+ before it, Warners will be removing all the programming from Netflix in order to make HBO Max the exclusive streaming home for shows like Friends and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. At the end of this year the exclusive contract that Netflix has to stream shows that air on the CW will also expire and HBO Max will be the place to go if you want to watch Arrow or the upcoming Batwoman after it airs.
Warners seemed content with launching the announcement with more of a whimper than a bang. Unlike Disney+, who made the official announcement with a presentation, WarnerMedia announced HBO Max with a 30 second trailer and a press release. Included in that trailer were brands that WarnerMedia owns that would be included in their upcoming streaming service. Content from the likes of DC, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, HBO, and more will be included.
Among their back catalogue of shows, they will also produce original content to try and entice potential subscribers. They have already lined up shows like Dune: The Sisterhood, a spin-off series of the upcoming Dune film from director Denis Villeneuve and a Gremlins animated prequel series among others.
When asked how this will affect their other streaming services within the WarnerMedia family like DC Universe and HBO Now, Warners said that everything “will not change”. What exactly this means is still a little vague. For instance, it’s unclear if the likes of DC Universe will share shows with HBO Max. While no official confirmation has been made, it’s highly likely WarnerMedia will bundle various services with HBO Max in order to not make it too difficult for consumers to pay for them.
With HBO Max joining the ranks of Disney+, CBS All Access and Apple Plus, there are plenty of options for consumers to choose from. More services are popping up and with NBC/Universal preparing their own service, it’s going to get more difficult to choose. Each service tries to offer something unique when it comes to original programming but soon consumers will have too many options. For the general audience, wallets are tight and consumers need to choose which service they’d like to support.
With each major studio creating their own streaming services, soon Netflix will be 100% original content. Essentially what has happened is that one streaming service has now become many. A competitive price point will be one of the few things that can help each one stand out but if the rumors are true about HBO Max being $16 or more, then it’ll be a long road to being successful.
HBO Max will launch sometime in spring 2020 so expect more information to come out at a later date. HBO Max had a relatively lukewarm reception but WarnerMedia still has time to change public perception into something more positive. Only time will tell how this service will be received.