HBO Max set for May 2020 US launch
Staff Reporter | On 30, Oct 2019Reading time: 5 mins
HBO Max will officially launch in May 2020, WarnerMedia has announced.
The entertainment giant, owned by parent company AT&T, has been readying its new subscription service for some time, planning to pull back its content from other subscription platforms and build on its existing library and brands to assemble a viable rival to Netflix. It’s doing so just as Disney and Apple plan to mount similar challenges, as well as NBC’s Peacock. And so, just before Disney+ and Apple TV+ launch in the coming weeks (in the US and globally respectively), WarnerMedia is getting the jump on announcing its own details.
The platform’s library will comprise TV shows, on-demand movies, some live primetime HBO shows and content from anything else Warner has in its vault. That means exclusive rights to every episode of Friends – it is famously set to depart Netflix soon. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Pretty Little Liars will follow suit, as well as dibs on some shows from The CW, including Batwoman and Riverdale spin-off Katy Keene.
It will have at launch some 10,000 hours of content, including exclusive streaming rights to South Park, Rick & Morty (with shared rights with Hulu in the US – it is on All 4 in the UK), new shows from Elizabeth Banks, Issa Rae and Mindy Kaling, plus an adaptation of Strange Adventures and a Green Lantern series. And, perhaps the jewel in the crown, the new Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon, announced today.
HBO Max will also have 1,800 movies at launch, include The Matrix series, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings franchises as well as all titles in the last 10 years from DC Entertainment, Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix, and the entire Studio Ghibli film catalogue.
It will launch in May 2020 in the US and cost $14.99 per month, with existing subscribers to HBO Now getting access to HBO Max for no extra cost. The result is a platform that will cost the same as HBO’s standalone streaming service but offer twice the amount of content, albeit a platform that is nonetheless more expensive than Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Apple TV+.
WarnerMedia is confident it can grow at that price point, though, with 75 to 90 million HBO Max subscribers, including 50 million in the US, targeted for 2025. That include the existing HBO base of around 34 million in the US.
Boosting its appeal will be a slew of features that you can expect to become technological benchmarks for other services. HBO Max will allow users to listen to podcasts, follow actors in the same way people follow influencers and find content through lists curated by both algorithms and humans.
What does all this mean for UK viewers? Likely not very much, as HBO’s longstanding relationship with Sky is set to continue.
Today, the two companies announced they have agreed an extension to their programming deals across Sky’s European markets, meaning Sky and NOW TV customers will be able to enjoy content from HBO and Warner Bros as well as, crucially, from Turner channels (one of the key forces behind Warner’s former FilmStruck service) for “many years to come”.
Building on the relationship with HBO, Sky Studios will now also work with WarnerMedia’s HBO Max programming team to produce premium drama and scripted entertainment for Sky and HBO customers across Europe and beyond, as part of a multi-year co-production deal.
The new expanded deal also extends the pay TV rights for Warner Bros first-run feature films adding to the strong relationship already in place and brings Sky customers more movies from Warner Bros than before. The deal also includes, again crucially, richer on-demand content under the Cartoon Network and Boomerang brands – all signs that Sky and NOW TV will be the primary home of HBO content for the foreseeable future.
HBO Max: Warner officially unveils streaming platform
11th July 2019
Warner has officially unveiled its new streaming platform, calling it HBO Max.
The subscription platform offering is a big step for parent company AT&T, which is looking to enter the competitive and potentially lucrative OTT arena – a move that is also being undertaken by Disney (and, as part of that, Fox) and NBC. Rather than launch with the Warner name, its building on its existing brand to take on Netflix.
“Anchored with and inspired by the legacy of HBO’s excellence and award-winning storytelling, the new service will be ‘Maximized’ with an extensive collection of exclusive original programming (Max Originals) and the best-of-the-best from WarnerMedia’s enormous portfolio of beloved brands and libraries,” the company announced in a press release this week.
The platform’s library will comprise TV shows, on-demand movies, some live primetime HBO shows and content from anything else Warner has in its vault. That means exclusive rights to every episode of Friends when it launches in spring 2020 – it is famously set depart Netflix in 2019. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Pretty Little Liars will follow suit, as well as dibs on some show’s from The CW, including Batwoman and Riverdale spin-off Katy Keene.
New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes and more will all fall under the HBO Max umbrella, as it looks to pull its shows from third-party sites that have licensed them to bolster its own streaming coffers. (NBC, similarly, will pull The Office to stream exclusively on its own app).
Of course, all of this is currently just for US audiences: in the UK, The CW Arrowverse shows are on Sky One, which means Warner may have longer deals in place until those third part agreements expire, or that Warner launch HBO Max for British subscribers much later. For now, here’s a video launching the new service: