Warner Media has revealed its plans for upcoming streaming service HBO Max. The new platform promises combined content libraries from HBO, Adult Swim, DC Universe, Turner Broadcast and Warner Bros Pictures, plus some additional brands. However, there remains a question mark over the subject of whether it will thrive during the streaming wars, or simply need to make efforts to survive.
WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey is hoping to attract 70 million subscribers overall, with his aim being to remain a part of the streaming wars as opposed to winning it. That said, The Information have stated that the company aims to have a base of 50 million subscribers, which includes HBO’s existing database of 35 million subscribers, in the next five years. This figure is 10 million fewer than Netflix’s current domestic total.
While AT&T has 125 million wireless and video customers in the US at present, the job of selling HBO Max subscriptions to existing cable and HBO Now subscribers won’t be an easy one. Furthermore, some cable and satellite partners which offer HBO may see HBO Max as a threat.
Another issue is the unusual pricing plan seen with HBO Max. It’s thought that the platform will come with a price tag of around $16 a month, which would make it one of the most expensive on the market. For example, Disney+ will start at just $7 a month.
This price is also only a few dollars more than streaming service HBO Now and HBO cable subscriptions, giving it next to no room to increase its prices over a longer timeframe. In other words, there will be a lot of pressure on the company to gather new subscribers at a fast pace in order to make their numbers add up.
AT&T made a large investment when they acquired Time Warner, and while their current content offering is sure to make for a winning combination, it’s expected that there will be a rocky road ahead to start with.
One of the obstacles HBO Max will face is that the brand doesn’t have the same recognition among younger demographics as competitor Netflix does. This means there is additional work for the company to put in when it comes to forming a strong and recognisable brand for its target audience.
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