John Oliver has publicly called out new streaming platform HBO Max on his Emmy award-winning show Last Week Tonight.
In the show which aired on October 13, Oliver said: “Have you heard about HBO Max? Looking to add another app and monthly charge to watch things? HBO Max has you covered. It’s going to have all your favorites: Re-runs of ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ re-runs of ‘Friends,’ re-runs of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.’ You can pay for all of those through HBO Max. HBO Max: It’s not HBO, it’s just TV.”
The statement may have been an effort to create a distinction between the HBO network and upcoming streaming platform HBO Max, which are different in terms of business and content, despite having a similar name.
Confusion had arisen in July 2019 when WarnerMedia announced that its new streaming service would be called HBO Max, leading some to question whether there would be similar content on both the HBO network and the platform.
During the TCA Press Conference in the summer, HBO programming president Casey Bloys made it clear that this wasn’t how the situation was, adding that he was flattered WarnerMedia was using the name HBO as the title of its streaming service.
HBO Max will be launching in April 2020, several months after new platforms Apple TV+ and Disney+ go live.
Furthermore, it will be joining a crowded industry with big names such as Amazon, Netflix and Hulu, with many people likely to draw comparisons between HBO Max and NBC’s service Peacock due to the fact that both are launching at similar times.
WarnerMedia has been investing heavily in high-demand content for its new platform, with $425 million spent on five-year streaming rights to Friends and $600 million spent on all 12 seasons of CBS comedy sitcom The Big Bang Theory.
John Oliver’s show Last Week Tonight made its debut in April 2014 and has won four consecutive Emmy Awards for Outstanding Variety Talk Series. It airs on Sunday nights on HBO.
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