The video streaming industry is already a crowded and highly competitive space but it’s about to get even more competitive and a bit more confusing. In about two weeks, the much-rumored and long-awaited Disney+ will finally launch and 6 months after that, a new streaming service will launch under the HBO brand. That said, HBO Max is actually an AT&T product, which is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this rather unusual streaming service.
Let’s get the launch details out of the way first. HBO Max is launching on May 2020, no specific date yet, and it will carry one of the most expensive price tags among its peers. At $14.99, it narrowly surpasses Netflix’s standard tier but Disney+’s $6.99 price definitely makes it look bad. That said, HBO Max is hoping its wider selection of content will make it worth subscribers’ money.
Unlike HBO Now, Max will cover a wide gamut of sources under the WarnerMedia brand. That includes CNN, TCM, TNT, Cartoon Network, and even the young DC Universe. That means HBO Max will not only have originals like Game of Thrones and Westworld but also old classics like Casablanca and kids’ shows like Sesame Street. And, yes, Friends will be there, too.
HBO Max is also playing up the element of recommended shows that are curated not by impersonal AI alone but also by actual humans. Some of those humans may even include celebrities. The system will also allow for “joint profiles” where recommendations are made based on members’ combined interests to make it easier to pick out a show that everyone is likely to enjoy.
AT&T’s HBO Max does sound enticing because of its wide selection of content’ both original, old, and very, very old. It is, however, entering late into an arena already full of players, including HBO’s own Now service. Fortunately, it does have half a year to make any changes necessary before it launches with guns ablazing.