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HBO’s new streaming service Max for $ 4.8 billion launches TODAY to emulate Netflix

AT & T’s WarnerMedia became the latest giant to throw its hat into the streaming ring on Wednesday after the launch of its multi-billion dollar online video service, HBO Max.

HBO Max becomes the phone company’s first major entertainment company since it spent $ 85 billion two years ago acquiring Time Warner.

The company plans to spend more than $ 4.5 billion on the project in the coming years, with the ambition to have 50 million subscribers by 2025 and generate billions of annual profits to rival Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Apple TV, in the increasingly busy area of ​​online entertainment.

Unlike other HBO apps, Max includes TV shows that were initially broadcast on other networks and are not available on competing services, such as the popular sitcom Friends.

A reunion of the show’s cast was originally scheduled to be released for the platform’s rollout, but filming was suspended due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

And experts say the timing of HBO Max’s launch will be made or break.

While the 10,000 hours of movies and TV shows the platform offers could theoretically appeal to the millions trapped at home during the pandemic, the reality of the high subscription costs ($ 15 per month) could be enough to get potential customers away at a time when household budgets are limited by the economic consequences of COVID-19.

AT & T's WarnerMedia became the latest giant to throw its hat on Wednesday after the launch of the multi-billion dollar online video service, HBO Max (pictured from left, Chief Content Officer, HBO MAX and President, TNT, TBS, & truTV Kevin Reilly and Head of Original Content, HBO MAX Sarah Aubrey appear on the HBO Max Executive Sessions panel during the HBO TCA 2020

AT & T’s WarnerMedia became the latest giant to throw its hat on Wednesday after the launch of the multi-billion dollar online video service, HBO Max (pictured from left, Chief Content Officer, HBO MAX and President, TNT, TBS, & truTV Kevin Reilly and Head of Original Content, HBO MAX Sarah Aubrey appear on the HBO Max Executive Sessions panel during the HBO TCA 2020

“People are going to look at the award first,” said Steve Nason, research director at Parks Associates.

While HBO Max costs $ 15 – the same as the HBO Now streaming service it should replace – Netflix’s no-frills subscription costs $ 9 a month, while Hulu charges just $ 6. Other new streaming services, such as Disney Plus and Quibi, were launched with cheaper prices and bigger discounts.

How HBO’s $ 15 a month subscription fee compares to that of its rivals

Netflix – $ 8.99 per month

Hulu – $ 5.99 per month

Amazon Prime – $ 8.99 per month

Disney + $ 6.99 per month

Quibi – $ 7.99 (without ads) / $ 4.99 (with ads)

NBC Peacock – (launching in July) – $ 9.99 per month (without ads) / $ 4.99 per month (with ads)

Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, industry analysts called HBO pricing “ unreasonable. ” A study conducted by the New York Times found that one in five people who subscribed to HBO Now said they planned to cancel their subscription in the coming months because of the price.

Entertainment companies like AT & T’s WarnerMedia are broadly switching to streaming video, following Netflix, as more people stray from their traditional cable bundles.

Disney launched Disney Plus and the sports-focused ESPN Plus and took control of Hulu from an industry joint venture; NBCUniversal from Comcast is launching Peacock on a massive scale this summer; and ViacomCBS renews CBS All Access and fills it with even more programming.

Even Fox Corp. has its Fox Nation app, with tech company Apple also starting its own small service. A short mobile-focused video service, Quibi also hopes to get some of the streaming pie, although reception has fallen well below expectations until launch.

Unlike other HBO apps, Max includes TV shows that were initially broadcast on other networks and are not available on competing services, such as the popular sitcom Friends.

The company plans to spend more than $ 4.5 billion on the project in the coming years, with the ambition to have 50 million subscribers by 2025

The company plans to spend more than $ 4.5 billion on the project in the coming years, with the ambition to have 50 million subscribers by 2025

The company plans to spend more than $ 4.5 billion on the project in the coming years, with the ambition to have 50 million subscribers by 2025

WarnerMedia hopes to generate billions of annual profits to rival Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Apple TV, in the increasingly crowded field of online entertainment

WarnerMedia hopes to generate billions of annual profits to rival Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Apple TV, in the increasingly crowded field of online entertainment

Amazon Prime

Amazon Prime

WarnerMedia hopes to generate billions of annual profits to rival Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and Apple TV, in the increasingly crowded field of online entertainment

Unlike other HBO apps, Max includes TV shows initially broadcast on other networks and not available on competing services, such as the popular sitcom Friends

Unlike other HBO apps, Max includes TV shows initially broadcast on other networks and not available on competing services, such as the popular sitcom Friends

Unlike other HBO apps, Max includes TV shows initially broadcast on other networks and not available on competing services, such as the popular sitcom Friends

Quibi’s $ 2BILLION experiment is struggling

Quibi offers bite-sized episodes that never last longer than 10 minutes, but unlike other platforms, the shows are interrupted periodically, preventing people from binge-watching.

Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg alleged last week that home births of the coronavirus are to blame for the lack of interest in consuming short clips intended to be enjoyed on the commute.

But Loup Ventures managing partner Doug Clinton believes that the content of Quibi does not allow people to develop an emotional response and is not convincing enough to convince millennials to turn their attention away from other apps, such as Instagram.

Quibi’s content isn’t bad, it’s fine. It’s just hard to get a new audience’s attention without very compelling content, ” he said.

Since Quibi launched on April 6, it has been downloaded 3.2 million times.

They wanted to have 7 million subscribers in the first year. But active users are only about 1.3 million.

Quibi spent $ 1.8 billion on the launch, and before the coronavirus pandemic was estimated, it would generate $ 400 million in revenue, including $ 250 million in subscriptions in the first year.

A cast reunion, originally planned for the platform’s rollout, has been suspended by the pandemic. Likewise, director Zack Snyder’s alternate version of the 2017 superhero movie Justice League won’t land on HBO Max until next year.

But meanwhile, the service is packed with content, including classic HBO series like The Sopranos, The Wire, and Sex and the City.

Half a dozen new releases – called Max Originals – are now also making their debut, including Craftopia, a crafting competition for kids; Legendary, a reality competition for voguing ballroom crews; and flagship Love Life, a romantic drama comedy starring Anna Kendrick.

The Warner Bros. Movie Library goes back decades to the golden age of Hollywood. There’s even a reboot of the beloved cartoon, Looney Tunes, which is animated in retro style.

“Maybe the timing is actually right,” said Jennifer Fritzsche, an analyst at Wells Fargo. “There could be a Netflix depletion factor.” Netflix has forecast extremely strong subscriber gains for this quarter.

But people will have to decide whether it’s worth paying for a new video service on top of the ‘basic’ services that many already have: Netflix, the huge amounts of video that come with an Amazon Prime membership, Hulu and, increasingly , Disney Plus, Nason said.

But in the meantime, the service is packed with content, including classic HBO series like The Sopranos, The Wire and Sex and the City

But in the meantime, the service is packed with content, including classic HBO series like The Sopranos, The Wire and Sex and the City

But in the meantime, the service is packed with content, including classic HBO series like The Sopranos, The Wire and Sex and the City

Half a dozen new releases - called Max Originals - are now also making their debut, including Craftopia, a crafting competition for kids; Legendary, a reality competition for voguing ballroom crews; and flagship with Love Life, a romantic drama comedy starring Anna Kendrick (above)

Half a dozen new releases - called Max Originals - are now also making their debut, including Craftopia, a crafting competition for kids; Legendary, a reality competition for voguing ballroom crews; and flagship with Love Life, a romantic drama comedy starring Anna Kendrick (above)

Half a dozen new releases – called Max Originals – are now also making their debut, including Craftopia, a crafting competition for kids; Legendary, a reality competition for voguing ballroom crews; and flagship with Love Life, a romantic drama comedy starring Anna Kendrick (above)

HBO itself is not leaving, but Max plans to eventually replace the company’s existing streaming services, HBO Go and HBO Now. The phone giant hopes that HBO’s 35 million subscribers will shift their loyalty to HBO Max, but there are contract issues that customers may be facing.

“The point of confusion is one we’ve been obsessed with for a year,” said Andy Forssell, the general manager of WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer division.

It’s easy to ask HBO Now users to switch to Max if they signed up directly through HBO, and many major cable companies have agreed to promote HBO Max to their existing HBO customers.

However, no deal has been made with Roku or Amazon yet, so customers who signed up for HBO through either company may not be able to access Max on a TV until that issue is resolved.

HBO itself is not leaving, but Max plans to eventually replace the company's existing streaming services, HBO Go and HBO Now. The phone giant hopes HBO's 35 million subscribers will shift their loyalty to HBO Max, but there are contract issues that could potentially harm customers

HBO itself is not leaving, but Max plans to eventually replace the company's existing streaming services, HBO Go and HBO Now. The phone giant hopes HBO's 35 million subscribers will shift their loyalty to HBO Max, but there are contract issues that customers may be facing

HBO itself is not leaving, but Max plans to eventually replace the company’s existing streaming services, HBO Go and HBO Now. The phone giant hopes HBO’s 35 million subscribers will shift their loyalty to HBO Max, but there are contract issues that could potentially harm customers

Another possible suspension for WarnerMedia is the effect the coronavirus pandemic has had on stopping Hollywood productions, which is expected to delay the rollout of HBO Max’s original productions, such as the long-awaited Friends reunion special.

However, that impact will be felt more in 2021 than it was this year, Forssell said. Originals are important because they help attract subscribers and keep paying month after month.

It is crucial for AT&T to get HBO Max right. The DirecTV satellite service is bleeding customers, and the traditional TV model is threatened by cutting cords across the industry and, more recently, a coronavirus-related advertiser withdrawal.

Max also has the potential to entice wireless customers as AT&T offers it as part of a bundle. But competition for customer attention and dollars is fierce.

“They go shoulder to shoulder with media titans,” said Fritzsche. “They haven’t played in that sandbox before.”

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