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AT&T’s John Stankey Says HBO Max Needs to Resolve the ‘Paradox of Choice’ Issue for Subscribers

Stephanie Sengwe

As we all know, the big news today is that WarnerMedia has finally launched its streaming service HBO Max. With a vast library consisting of a wide range of content from HBO, the Criterion Collection, Studio Ghibli, Warner Bros. Films and Sesame Workshop, the question of whether or not HBO Max was trying to replace Netflix as a one-stop shop for consumers naturally came up.

On CNBC’s Squawk Box this morning, president and COO John Stankey refuted those claims and revealed that the streamer aims to fulfill a different need instead.

“There’s no question there’s more choice out there today than there ever has been. That paradox of choice is what HBO Max needs to resolve. It needs to become the brand when the customer says, ‘I’m looking for something that meets this particular need of where I stand right now, my mood or my family situation … something that’s curated down to a meaningful selection of high quality,’” Stankey said. “The consistency of that happening time and time again is clearly the hallmark we want for the brand and the service. And that’s what we believe we’ll focus on and carry forward.”

Stankey also revealed that the plan to launch an ad-supported version of HBO Max is still a go, stating, “We believe the long-term dynamics will be both subscription and advertising supported. If you think about what consumers like, they like choice. You don’t necessarily mind ads if they’re executed well and they’re relevant.”

HBO Max launched today with a price point of $15 a month, the same price as HBO and HBO Now. All AT&T, DirecTV and HBO Now customers have immediate access to the service. Others who get HBO through their cable company will have to wait until HBO Max makes new deals with their provider.

The streamer launched with 10,000 hours of programming featuring a boasting a robust library with content from HBO, DC, Sesame Workshop, Studio Ghibili, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, CrunchyRoll and Turner Classic Movies. While fans were expecting to catch up “Friends,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” the streamer surprised fans with all eight movies from the “Harry Potter” franchise at launch.