WarnerMedia officially announced the launch of HBO Max back in July and since then, the company has been pretty tight-lipped about their streaming service. What we’ve found out over the course of the last few months is that the service is definitely launching next spring and it will be the official and exclusive streaming home for Friends, The Big Bang Theory, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Sesame Street — and a slew of new originals.
With the media day taking place on the Warner Bros. lot today at 3PM PT, here is everything we expect learn from the reveal.
Launch Date and Pricing
Perhaps no other two pieces of information regarding HBO Max have been as fleeting as the launch date and the price point. While the exact month and date have not been officially announced, reports came out that the service will debut in April 2020 and that seems to be the agreed upon date across the industry.
Rumors of HBO Max’s pricing have also been rampant with NBC News first reporting that the service will be set at $14.99, the same as HBO and HBO Go. Last week, critics were speculating that perhaps WarnerMedia has reconsidered, and will launch an ad-supported tier for about $8 to off-set the premium price.
Just last week, AT&T announced they will be offering the upcoming HBO Max at no extra cost to their 10 million customers who are HBO subscribers. These are customers who already pay for other AT&T-owned services such as DIRECTV or AT&T wireless phone service.
Apps and Supported Devices
With Apple partnering up with Roku and Amazon and Disney partnering up with Apple, Google, Microsoft, Roku, and Sony, today’s reveal is likely to mention WarnerMedia’s plans for distribution partners as well.
While we assume HBO Max will be on all major platforms we don’t know which ones yet. Currently HBO is available on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV, Playstation 4, Roku, Samsung Smart TV and Xbox One and we can assume HBO Max will probably be available there as well. It will be interesting if they continue to parter with cable companies like Comcast to include HBO Max on their X1 platform.
WarnerMedia will probably reveal more about the inner workings of the app itself. As of now, we don’t know how similar or different the HBO Max app will be from the HBO and AT&T TV apps and that will probably change by the end of the day.
While they have been quite hush hush about the app itself, WarnerMedia has been very open about the kind of content they will feature and that will probably be the case today as well. The streaming service has a strong lineup of original series coming your way.
Shows 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; among others.
The company has also buffed up their licensed content, outbidding competitors to be the exclusive streaming home for Friends and The Big Bang Theory. HBO Max also got 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.
Ad-Supported Tier and Live Streaming
WarnerMedia is planning to launch an ad-supported option at at lower cost, Reuters reported. So far, all we know is that this option won’t be available till 2021.
While AT&T has been doing their best to kill of AT&T TV NOW, it seems like live channels will be a part of HBO Max in the future. In July, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that he expects to add premium live sports to HBO Max in the future. “This won’t be at the early stages of HBO Max, but you should assume that ultimately HBO Max will have live elements,” Stephenson stated.
Binge-watching or Weekly Episodes?
While Netflix made binge-watching cool, Disney+ and Apple TV+ have chosen to release their shows in doses. It will be interesting to which see which route HBO Max will go for the dissemination of their original programming. Given that HBO releases new episodes weekly, it would be a surprise if HBO Max embraced binge viewing.