HBO Max announces price and programming

(Tony Goncalves, CEO, Otter Media
Photograph by Presley Ann/Getty Images for WarnerMedia & Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)

A Game of Thrones prequel. DC Universe movie premieres. 10,000 hours of programming.

And Friends.

For $14.99 a month.

Today, WarnerMedia today unveiled significant new details about its HBO Max direct-to-consumer strategy, revealing a comprehensive offering of programming options for every audience, product features and functionality, and its go-to-market plans.

Launching in May of 2020, WarnerMedia will be making HBO Max available to customers in the U.S. for $14.99 per month. The company is targeting 50 million domestic subscribers and 75 – 90 million premium subscribers by year-end in 2025 across the U.S., Latin America and Europe.

At launch, AT&T will immediately offer HBO Max to the roughly 10 million HBO subscribers on AT&T distribution platforms, at no additional charge. HBO Now direct-billed users who subscribe directly through HBONow.com will also have access to WarnerMedia’s HBO Max product.

AT&T customers on premium video, mobile and broadband services will be offered bundles with HBO Max included at no additional charge. We are in active discussions with our distributors and look forward to offering their customers seamless access to this great product.

“We’ve positioned HBO Max in a way that makes sense for our Company, our distribution partners and our customers,” said Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media. “We are creating a company-wide ‘membership-model’ that taps into AT&T’s 170 million direct-to-consumer relationships, 5,500 retail stores and 3.2 billion annual customer touchpoints to achieve scale and reach at launch.”

HBO Max will launch with 10,000 hours of curated premium content including the entire HBO service, bundled with new originals that expand the breadth of the offering targeted at young adults, kids and families.

The newest streaming network will pull from WarnerMedia’s deep library of fan favorites in its 100-year content collection, including library content from Warner Bros., New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes and more.

According to a press release, the network will also offer a robust selection of third party acquired series and movie titles that will rival any other streaming offering in the marketplace. Let’s see about that.

Here is the opening video, presented by God himself – Morgan Freeman:

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House of the Dragon Green-lit

House of the Dragon is a 10-episode, straight-to-series order Game of Thrones prequel. Based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, the series, which is set 300 years before the events of Game of Thrones, tells the story of House Targaryen.

Co-created by George R.R. Martin and Ryan Condal. Emmy award winning director Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal will partner as showrunners and will also serve as executive producers along with George R.R. Martin and Vince Gerardis. Sapochnik will direct the pilot and additional episodes of the series, which will be written by Condal.

A Home for DC Universe Films

Yesterday, Variety published a story on what HBO Max could mean for the future of the DC Universe.

“HBO Max is expected to lean heavily on Warner Bros. to supply it with exclusive content,” they reveal. “The subscription service hopes the studio will provide it with eight to 10 movies, a number that could ramp up over time. Some of these productions could be tentpole-sized, with healthy budgets that could rival those of major feature films.”

“Eventually productions will likely hail from the DC Universe,” the trade added, “WarnerMedia’s in-house comic book division, as it looks for compelling content.”

Warner Bros. has a long list of movies in development which appear to be stuck in limbo, so HBO Max could very well end up being the home for the likes of Batgirl, Nightwing, and Booster Gold.

With Marvel premiering limited MCU-connected series on new Disney+ it is very likely that this is a way for DC to compete. DC has had overall better luck on TV than Marvel.

New Max Originals

The Fungies!, from Stephen Neary and Cartoon Network Studios, is a prehistoric comedy that explores Fungietown through the whimsical quests of Seth, a young student at Fungietown Elementary.

Tig N’ Seek from Myke Chilian and Cartoon Network Studios is about 8-year-old Tiggy and his gadget-building cat, Gweeseek, as they search for the lost items of Wee Gee City. With Tiggy’s cheerful attitude and Gweeseek’s exceptional inventing capabilities, the duo humorously navigate day-to-day dilemmas at the Department of Lost and Found.

Tooned Out, executive produced by Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump; Cast Away; Back to the Future), is a half-hour, hybrid live-action and animated comedy. Things get a little cartoony for Mac when he starts seeing iconic cartoon characters in his life, but they’re not just there for laughs, they’re helping him get through a very rough patch in his life.

Looney Tunes Cartoons, an all-new series of 80 eleven-minute episodes and holiday-themed specials from Warner Bros. Animation starring the cherished classic Looney Tunes characters for today’s kids. Iconic characters will include Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Tweety, Sylvester, Granny, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Tasmanian Devil, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote and many more.

Jellystone, a new animated children’s comedy series from Warner Bros. Animation that will welcome viewers to the town of Jellystone, where their favorite Hanna-Barbera characters live, work, play, and stir up trouble together.

DC Super Hero High is a half-hour comedy series executive produced by Elizabeth Banks (Charlie’s Angels, Pitch Perfect, Shrill), which follows a group of students experiencing the fun and drama of adolescence at a boarding school for gifted kids. These teens are just trying to navigate the pressures of high school, but none of them realize that someday they will become legendary DC Super Heroes.

Rap Sh*t (working title) from Issa Rae (Insecure; A Black Lady Sketch Show) is a half-hour comedy series that follows a female rap group from outside of Miami trying to make it in the music industry.

College Girls (working title), the latest series from Mindy Kaling (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Late Night, The Mindy Project, The Office), is a 13-episode half-hour, single-camera comedy following three 18-year-old freshman roommates at Evermore College in Vermont who are equal parts lovable and infuriating.

Strange Adventures, a DC Super Hero anthology series executive produced by Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Titans, Doom Patrol), will feature characters from across the DC canon. This one-hour drama series will explore close-ended morality tales about the intersecting lives of mortals and superhumans.

A Green Lantern-inspired series from Berlanti Productions that will finally introduce characters from this iconic comic in Berlanti’s biggest series yet.

A Series of Stand Up Specials presented by Conan O’Brien will feature five new comedy specials. O’Brien will host two specials, featuring short sets from multiple up-and-coming comics while also curating one-hour sets from three comedians. In addition HBO Max has purchased the rights to a one-hour special from comedian James Veitch.

Raised by Wolves, an epic serialized sci-fi series executive produced and directed by Ridley Scott (The Martian, Blade Runner, Alien: Covenant) centering on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet.

Bobbie Sue is a feature-length film starring Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriquez (Jane the Virgin) following the story of a headstrong young lawyer who lands a career-making case with an upper crust law firm, only to realize she’s been hired for optics and not her expertise.

Newly Acquired and Library Titles

In addition to the new original titles mentioned above, HBO Max also announced today a number of classic and library titles that will be coming to the streamer in its first year of launch, including: South Park, Rick & Morty, The O.C., Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Robot Chicken, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, The Bachelor, Impractical Jokers, The Closer, Rizzolli and Isles, Major Crimes, The Alienist, The West Wing, United Shades of America with Kamau Bell, This is Life with Lisa Ling, and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

In addition, a collection of classics from the libraries of Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies and Hannah Barbara will be available at launch.

“We are attracting top talent to bring in a wide variety of original ideas, curating the rich library assets of this company, and acquiring the most compelling third-party programming available,” said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer, HBO Max, president, TNT, TBS and truTV.

BURBANK, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 29: Ann Sarnoff, Chair & Chief Executive Officer of Warner Brothers, speaks onstage at HBO Max WarnerMedia Investor Day Presentation at Warner Bros. Studios on October 29, 2019 in Burbank, California. (Photo by Presley Ann/Getty Images for WarnerMedia)

“We work with an unmatched roster of innovative artists and we couldn’t be happier to be bringing them to HBO Max next year and well into the future,” said Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO of Warner Bros. “HBO Max will have the pick of the litter here at Warner Bros.”

With existing streamers Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Disney+ and Apple TV about to launch, one has to wonder if we are now witnessing the birth of an entirely new way of watching TV. Just as the networks gave way to Fox, then cable and satellite, it is very possible with CBS All Access and NBC launching its own that networks as we know it may be gone in five years.

We’ll watch and see.

SOURCE: WarnerMedia

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