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AT&T CFO John Stephens Says HBO Max Price Is a ‘Real Bargain’ Considering Its Content Offering

Stephanie Sengwe

With just three weeks left before launching on May 27, AT&T CFO John Stephens is standing firmly behind HBO Max. During an online appearance at the MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit, Stephens asserted that customers of HBO Max are getting a lot of bang for their buck at the $15 price point, which is slightly steeper than most streaming services that have launched recently.

At $15, HBO Max is significantly higher than the recently launched Apple TV+ and Quibi which are both $4.99 and Disney+, which costs $6.99 alone. Longstanding services such as Amazon Prime Videon Prime Video] still come under, with the lowest plan on Netflix costing $8.99, the same price as Prime Video. (Netflix also offers the standard plan for $12.99 and their premium tier is $15.99). Peacock, which is set to launch nationwide in July 15 will come with a free tier, a $5 tier with ads and a $10 tier that’s add free.

With HBO Max launching in the middle of a pandemic, where many people have lost their jobs and are strapped for cash, Stephens believes HBO Max’s content offering spans wider demographics than fellow competitors and that the $15 price balances out. “You got HBO Max, and you realize that it’s thousands of more hours, more titles, and quite frankly, attracts many different demographics. So from that perspective, I think it’s going to be something that’s going to be accepted … it’s very high quality, and significant content that goes across the whole family unit or multiple individuals as opposed to just one demographic,” Stephens stated.

“As such, I think it’s at the right price point. And we’ll try to do things differently with regard to bundling and so forth. We’ve had tremendous market study in the last four years on HBO on what prices could be and what people want and what people look at. And now we’re just taking that up multiple levels to include the demographics of millennials and children more orientated in great content … I think something like that, at the same price is a real bargain. I’m sure we’ll make adjustments and add things in or subtracts out, whatever the case may be. We’ll make adjustments as we go through it.”

At launch, HBO Max original shows will include “The Flight Attendant,” a one-hour thriller series starring and co-produced by Kaley Cuoco; “Love Life,” a 10-episode half-hour romantic comedy anthology series starring and co-produced by Anna Kendrick; and “Dune: The Sisterhood,” an adaptation of Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson’s book based in the world created by Frank Herbert’s book “Dune.”

HBO Max will also be the exclusive home for “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory.”

They also have the exclusive rights to “Sesame Street,” bringing the franchise’s entire 50-year library to a streaming platform for the first time; they also secured the U.S. streaming rights for Japan’s Studio Ghibli and have ordered two unscripted kids competition series — “Karma” and “Craftopia.”

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