- AT&T announced on Wednesday it will launch a new streaming service next year.
- The announcement comes after AT&T purchased Time Warner earlier this year.
- HBO, which was acquired in the merger, will be bundled with the service and it will also include Warner Bros. movies and Cartoon Network animated programs.
- It is expected to be more expensive than HBO, but a price will not be announced until next year.
AT&T announced on Wednesday that it will launch a new streaming service in late 2019, to compete with the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Disney’s upcoming streaming service.
“We expect to create such a compelling product that it will help distributors increase consumer penetration of their current packages and help us successfully reach more customers,” AT&T’s entertainment boss and WarnerMedia CEO, John Stankey, said in a statement.
AT&T purchased Time Warner earlier this year, and this announcement reflects Stankey’s vision for the company’s future. Stankey has promised to make big changes to HBO, which AT&T acquired in the Time Warner merger. And HBO will serve as the bedrock of the new service. (While users will still be able to subscribe to HBO separately, the new service will not be offered without HBO.)
“You’re going to see a stronger HBO as this offering comes to market,” Stankey said at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit on Wednesday. “I believe this platform that we’ll put in place will see other strong brands around it that a customer can identify with.”
Since AT&T purchased Time Warner, Stankey has been committed to shifting the way HBO delivers content to be more like Netflix. HBO has always focused on quality over quantity, while Netflix has built a massive library of movies and TV shows. Now Stankey wants HBO to add more scale.
“You are competing with devices that sit in people’s hands that capture their attention every 15 minutes,” Stankey said during a town hall in July. “I want more hours of engagement. As I step back and think about what’s unique about the brand and where it needs to go, there’s got to be a little more depth to it, there’s got to be more frequent engagement.”
Beyond HBO, the service is expected to include Warner Bros. movies, Cartoon Network animated programs, and more WarnerMedia properties. It will also be more expensive than HBO’s standalone service ($US14.99), but the price will not be announced until closer to the launch date.
The new streaming service will launch AT&T into the streaming war against Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. Disney will also debut its own service in late 2019, and is already developing original shows based on Disney’s popular properties like “Star Wars” and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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