WarnerMedia has finally revealed the name and scope of its upcoming streaming service. Bad news: the name is kind of lame. It’s called HBO Max which feels straight out of a focus group. Good news: the service will have a lot of content. And when I say “a lot” I mean “holy shit, let me sit down because that’s a lot a lot a lot.”
I’ll get into it more in a second but watch the sizzle reel from WarnerMedia first.
So what is HBO Max? It’ll be the digital home for HBO content along with 10,000 hours of programming. In a cold-blooded move, WarnerMedia used the introduction of HBO Max to announce that it would be taking Friends away from Netflix, which will be another blow against the streamer after they lost the rights to The Office. Along with HBO and Friends, HBO Max will have the hits from The CW, other Warner networks and new material like shows from Greg Berlanti, Reese Witherspoon and that Gremlins prequel series we’ve heard about. And they’ve got plenty more in development, like a new Anna Kendrick comedy and Tokyo Vice starring Ansel Elgort. So you’re basically getting HBO plus countless hours of WarnerMedia features and shows from CNN, TNT, TBS, New Line, Adult Swim (and many more) with new, original material too. They are loading this thing up.
Netflix is likely reeling because it’s losing Friends, possibly its biggest draw. As I said before, they just lost The Office and can’t be happy about having another major hit being ripped from their hands. They’ve spent hundreds of millions of dollars on retaining Friends but they just can’t compete with WarnerMedia. That’s the future of streaming. The playing field is expanding with the likes of HBO Max, Disney+, Apple TV+ and others entering the fray. It used to be Netflix versus Hulu and now it’s Netflix versus a whole slew of competition.
And it’ll only get worse. Disney+ and HBO Max are sure to be massive hits. Their successes, paired with Netflix’s losses, will shake up the streaming landscape. While it’s unlikely, it’s possible that Netflix won’t always be the biggest name in the game. They’ll definitely have more trouble acquiring the rights to classic TV shows as more and more networks and studios release their own alternatives. And why not? Competitors know they will make far more money if they cut out the middle man (Netflix) and release the content straight to consumers themselves. Now you can see why Netflix is constantly expanding its original programming, because some day they might not have as many classic network TV shows to rely on.
Of all the upcoming services that’ll flood the marketplace, HBO Max really does sound like the best one. The HBO programming alone is enough to shill out $10-$20 a month. But all the other stuff on top of that? It’s hard to say no to that. Many consumers won’t be willing to spend money on all these services at once. They’ll be picky and will have to make difficult choices. As HBO Max and other services load up on popular content, Netflix is definitely sweating.
HBO Max is scheduled to take your money in 2020.