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With HBO Max Launching Soon, WarnerMedia Shifts Attention From Cable to Streaming Shows

Stephanie Sengwe

Back in October, AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson revealed the company’s strategy when it comes to HBO Max. Though AT&T has been losing subscribers by the quarter, Stephenson revealed that HBO Max is the product expected to revive faith in the brand. He stated, “HBO Max will become the workhorse for our video product as we move into next year. All of the muscle and range of investment is going behind HBO Max.” He also mentioned that the “lion’s share of ads” will also move to HBO Max.

Well, it seems the plan to make HBO Max a hit when it comes out in May is well underway. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a study by Ampere Analytics found that the company has shifted focus from its ailing cable business to HBO Max and streaming content. The study found that in the fourth quarter of 2018, streaming accounted for seven percent of WarnerMedia’s original commissions. A year later, in the fourth quarter of 2019, streaming commissions made up 73 percent of WarnerMedia’s new TV projects. In the last quarter of 2019, WarnerMedia’s cable commissions were just over 25 percent, a huge dip from more than 90 percent in the same period of 2018.

“This is the clearest sign yet that the home of the juggernaut Game of Thrones will in the future play second fiddle to HBO Max,” Fred Black, an analyst at Ampere Analysis told THR. “Warner’s pivot toward an increasingly HBO Max-first approach to commissioning is not only apparent in the number of new projects in development, but also in the types of content being commissioned.”

WarnerMedia’s new strategy is quite significant in the entertainment realm. The company is the third-largest commissioner of new titles in the country, following Discovery and the newly merged ViacomCBS, which are both looking to revamp their presence in the streaming arena.

HBO Max will launch in May 2020 at $14.99 a month — the same price as HBO Now. Original shows include 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.”

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.”