AT&T announced that their channel Audience Network is going to stop its linear programming and become an HBO Max Preview Channel come spring. The channel originally launched under the moniker FreeView back in 1999 and then The 101 Network in 2005 before finally being renamed to Audience Network in 2010, according to Deadline.
Audience Network’s original comedy “You, Me, Her” ended in June after five seasons and the channel also has three other originals — “Condor” and “Loudermilk,” which were renewed for new seasons but don’t have release dates, as well as “Mr. Mercedes,” which wrapped its third season in November.
The news comes as AT&T is preparing to launch HBO Max in May. Back in October, AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson revealed the company would be putting a lot of power behind HBO Max. “HBO Max will become the workhorse for our video product as we move into next year,” Stephenson said. “All of the muscle and range of investment is going behind HBO Max.”
The company, which made it clear that they are not beyond selling DIRECTV as there are no “sacred cows,” mentioned that the “lion’s share of ads” will also be moving to HBO Max. WarnerMedia expects the new streaming service to hit 50 million subscribers within the next five years.
In December, Variety reported that AT&T is expecting to spend up to $2 billion on HBO Max in 2020 and investing an additional $1 billion in each of the following two years. This is before HBO Max even achieves profitability in 2025. The streaming service will be “the key aspect of the video strategy going forward,” stated AT&T chief financial officer John Stephens at the Wells Fargo TMT Summit.
HBO Max will cost $14.99 per month and will be available across mobile devices, tablets, streaming players, connected TVs, gaming consoles, and cable set-top boxes.