Just days before one of its big premium streaming competitors -- Apple TV+ -- starts on Nov. 1, AT&T announced that its HBO Max service will launch in May 2020 at $14.99 a month with 10,000 hours of content.
During a WarnerMedia day event in Burbank, California, Chief Executive Officer of WarnerMedia John Stankey said
HBO Max's goal is to get to 50 million subscribers in the U.S. by 2025 and 75 million to 90 million globally.
At launch, 10 million existing HBO customers will get HBO Max free. Existing streaming service digital service HBO Now is priced at $15 a month.
WarnerMedia will also offer HBO Max in a bundle deal with its revamped AT&T TV Live -- a refresh of its virtual pay TV service DirecTV Now. In year two -- 2021 -- HBO Max will evolve into adding an advertising-supported video-on-demand option.
Kevin Reilly -- chief content officer, HBO Max and president of TBS, TNT, and truTV -- says discovery on HBO Max of TV and films will be easier -- not just coming from algorithms.
Its “human recommendation” efforts -- recently launched on HBO -- focus on what real people like via social media platforms. This will be carried onto HBO Max.
HBO Max will have 31 original series in 2020 and 50 original series in 2021. Movie/TV producers and directors such as Steven Soderbergh, Greg Berlanti, Mindy Kaling, and J.J. Abrams will be producing new content for HBOMax.
HBO Max will launch with exclusive streaming series airings of “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory” -- two longtime and popular TV network comedies produced by Warner Bros.
Executives says HBO Max will focus on three areas for its programming: kids/family, millennials/Gen-Z, and adults, with a focus on women. Reilly says HBO’s median age is 49 years old, which dips to 39 years old for HBO content that is consumed digitally.
In contrast to other streaming platforms, HBO Max will roll out new original TV series episodes one at a time -- like that on traditional TV networks. But subscribers can binge on previously aired TV series.
Reilly says: “Our creators... see the difference rolling out shows gradually and letting them breathe.”