HBO Max: first details on the new streaming service
News & Trends

HBO Max: first details on the new streaming service

Luca Fontana
Zurich, on 10.07.2019
Translation: Eva Francis
WarnerMedia’s «HBO Max» is scheduled to launch in spring 2020. In the United States, that is. The streaming service is planned to be the new, serious competition for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Now, the media group has announced first details.

HBO Max. A few days ago, the name of WarnerMedia’s new streaming service leaked to some industry insiders. Now, the American media conglomerate based in New York has made an official announcement by publishing a media release and a promotional trailer. The promise: HBO and many, many more.

Release and portfolio – but no pricing yet

WarnerMedia writes: «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.»

«Maximized». That’s where the «Max» in «HBO Max» comes from. The release also indicates that the service will be launched in spring 2020. In the United States, that is. An international launch is also planned, but not before 2021. This puts Disney's streaming service – Disney Plus – in the lead when it comes to timing.

WarnerMedia has not given any insight into its pricing model yet. But they do give insights into the portfolio, which is based on three main pillars: in-house productions exclusive to HBO Max – so-called «Max Originals», acquired classic series with a high number of episodes and productions of all WarnerMedia brands, such as WarnerBros., DC Entertainment and New Line Cinema.

Max Originals: new original programming

Warner Media has commissioned numerous Max Originals, such as the «Dune: The Sisterhood», based on the book by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson, or an animated reinterpretation of «Gremlins». Movies produced by Hollywood producer Greg Berlanti and actress Reese Witherspoon are also planned.

Gremlins as animated series?
Gremlins as animated series?
Warner Bros.

On top of this, all current and future HBO productions will be part of the HBO Max library. For example, Stephen King's «The Outsider», starring Ben Mendelsohn, the upcoming «Game of Thrones» spin-off, according to George R. R. Martin himself in the media release, and the adaptation of Philip Pullman's novel «His Dark Materials».

What's still unclear is whether HBO itself will remain as an independent, separate service or whether it will be fully integrated into HBO Max. If Warner Media wants to establish its streaming service as a strong brand alongside Netflix and Amazon's Prime Video, the latter can be assumed.

Classic series and the DC hits

WarnerMedia hopes to attract new subscribers with its own productions and plans to make them stay with classic series classics such as «Friends». Netflix’s exclusive rights to «Friends» have expired – a fact that was immediately commented on by the Californians with a sad Tweet. Other evergreens are «Pretty Little Liars» as well as the 90s hit series «The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air».

Productions of the well-known WarnerMedia brands will also be part of the library. This includes productions by Warner Bros. such as all «Harry Potter» and «Fantastic Beasts» films, all DC comic movies and the «Lord of the Rings» and «Hobbit» films by their label New Line Cinema.

The broadcasts by Cartoon Networks and Adult Swim, series and formats by TNT and TBS, children's programmes by Boomerang and CNN productions are also added. HBO Max also intends to home all series Warner Bros. produces for The CW Network – including the DC series «Arrow», «The Flash» and the upcoming «Batwoman».

As Warner Media is only in charge of half of The CW Network, the DC series will be available on HBO Max 30 days before the launch date. The CW Network, however, will remain independent and will not become an integral part of the new streaming service.

Warner Media will therefore continue the trend to distribute its own shows and films on its own streaming platform as a content owner. The streaming bubble continues to inflate – let’s see when it will burst.

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Luca Fontana
Luca Fontana
Editor, Zurich
I'm an outdoorsy guy and enjoy sports that push me to the limit – now that’s what I call comfort zone! But I'm also about curling up in an armchair with books about ugly intrigue and sinister kingkillers. Being an avid cinema-goer, I’ve been known to rave about film scores for hours on end. I’ve always wanted to say: «I am Groot.»

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