The streaming wars just got a whole lot more intense, as WarnerMedia has announced their Netflix competitor, HBO Max. We’ve known for months that the media conglomerate comprised of AT&T and Warner Bros. was planning on entering the streaming game, much like Disney is doing with Disney+ later this year. Now, we have a much better idea of what they have planned and it includes a whole lot of original programming, in addition to many old favorites, including Friends and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
HBO Max does not yet have a price point set, nor does it have a specific release date, but it’s expected to launch before the end of the year. WarnerMedia will pull content from every corner of their company, including Warner Bros., New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth and Looney Tunes. WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer Chairman Robert Greenblatt had this to say in a statement.
“HBO Max will bring together the diverse riches of WarnerMedia to create programming and user experiences not seen before in a streaming platform. HBO’s world-class programming leads the way, the quality of which will be the guiding principle for our new array of Max Originals, our exciting acquisitions, and the very best of the Warner Bros. libraries, starting with the phenomenon that is ‘Friends.’ Under the leadership of two of the strongest creative visionaries, Casey Bloys (HBO) and Kevin Reilly (original content and acquisitions) and two of the most experienced digital experts, Tony Goncalves and Andy Forssell, I have no doubt they and their dedicated teams will deliver the world’s best storytelling to audiences of all ages wherever and whenever they want it.”
On the original content side of things, Arrowverse architect Greg Berlanti is set to produce at least four original movies for the service, which will be aimed at a younger audience. Reese Witherspoon and her production company Hello Sunshine are also set to produce at least two movies for the service. In as much as desirable, classic shows are important, Netflix has proved that premium original content can really be the key to amassing subscribers.
One of the biggest elements of the announcement has to do with the NBC hit Friends, which has been on Netflix. However, it will be streaming exclusively on HBO Max at launch. This serves as a major blow to Netflix, as they’re also set to lose The Office in the not-too-distant future. Another major blow comes in the form of content from The CW. Shows from the network were previously being made available on Netflix shortly after their seasons wrapped up but now, the shows will stream on HBO Max. This includes high-profile shows, such as the upcoming Batwoman series starring Ruby Rose.
WarnerMedia has also released a teaser for the service, which mostly serves as a showcase for the massive library of titles they will be bringing to their future subscribers. Currently, HBO Now goes for $15 a month. It’s not clear how precisely the company will distinguish this new service from HBO’s service, but it’s been reported previously that they won’t undercut the price. It’s expected the launch price point will be in the $16 to $17 per month range. Be sure to check out the teaser from the HBO Max YouTube channel for yourself.