About-to-launch streamer HBO Max will eventually be combined with AT&T TV, AT&T COO/incoming CEO John Stankey said during a webcast JP Morgan media and technology conference on Wednesday.
As pay TV continues to restructure from the traditional 500-channel cable bundle down to maybe 200, and streaming becomes a more consolidated offering of live, sports, unscripted content, and news, “we’re going to see these two bundled together, and you want a platform that can distribute both,” Stankey said.
“What Max and AT&T TV have in common is they are both software-based, independent of any proprietary hardware, allowing customers to get access content over any device, over any hardware platform," Stankey said. "They’re low-friction; they can be deployed literally by a flick of a computer switch somewhere in a back office. That’s an important aspect. And that’s what consumers will see as the customer-based Max grows. It becomes a more scaled distribution element within AT&T, certainly something that surpasses 25% to 28% of households, like our pay-TV offering. That becomes a lead basis of entertainment and how we get into households.”
As “user interfacing capabilities, bundling and pricing start to move together,” AT&T’s TV and SVOD businesses will “start to become one” over the next couple of years, he said.
“In the meantime, our marketing emphasis is on software-driven TV to have that in place in most households that we service, so that we can make that transition even smoother and easier for the customer.”