AT&T’s WarnerMedia unit announced that the streaming service it has been working on will be named HBO Max.
The company is pulling the popular series Friends from Netflix and will put it on HBO Max, which will also feature familiar shows including Pretty Little Liars and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
Since AT&T acquired Time Warner last year it has been working on a streaming service to compete with Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, as well as new services being introduced by The Walt Disney Co. and Comcast’s NBCUniversal.
Shortly after the announcement was made, Netflix tweeted that it was sorry to see Friends go.
WarnerMedia said HBO Max is scheduled to be launched in spring 2020 with 10,000 hours of premium content.
The company did not provide pricing information, a crucial element. Analyst note that the price must somehow fall between the $6.99 that Disney+ will cost and the $15 million HBO now gets for its premium cable channel.
The new service will be ad-free. Another ad supported video-on-demand product is being looked at.
HBO Now will have programming from WarnerMedia brands including Warner Bros., New Line, DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth and Looney Tunes.
The service has made new exclusive movie production deals with producer Greg Berlanti, and Reese Witherspoon. Berlanti will produce an initial four movies in the young adult space, while Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine will produce at least two films.
HBO Max will also stream the new Batwoman and Katy Keene series from DC Entertainment and the CW.
“HBO Max will bring together the diverse riches of WarnerMedia to create programming and user experiences not seen before in a streaming platform. HBO’s world-class programming leads the way, the quality of which will be the guiding principle for our new array of Max Originals, our exciting acquisitions, and the very best of the Warner Bros. libraries, starting with the phenomenon that is Friends,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman, WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct-to-consumer.
Additional details about HBO Max will be announced an at event the company is planning to hold this fall.
Max Original series previously announced include:
• Dune: The Sisterhood, an adaptation of Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson’s book based in the world created by Frank Herbert’s book Dune, from director Denis Villeneuve
• Tokyo Vice, based on Jake Adelstein’s non-fiction first-hand account of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat starring Ansel Elgort
• The Flight Attendant, a one-hour thriller series based on the novel by Chris Bohjalian, which will star Kaley Cuoco, who is also executive producing alongside Greg Berlanti
• Love Life, a 10-episode half-hour romantic comedy anthology series starring Anna Kendrick, who will also executive produce alongside Paul Feig
• Station Eleven, a postapocalyptic limited series based on Emily St. John Mandel’s international bestseller, adapted by Patrick Somerville and directed by Hiro Murai
• Made for Love, a 10-episode, half-hour, straight-to-series adaptation based on the tragicomic novel of the same name by Alissa Nutting, also from Somerville and directed by S.J. Clarkson
• Gremlins, an animated series from Warner Bros. Animation and Amblin Entertainment based on the original movie
Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.
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