The streaming wars are about to be reignited by the imminent arrivals of Apple TV+ and Disney+, with the latter being the best alternative to Netflix so far, especially when it comes to pricing and content. These aren’t the only new streaming services about to become available to users. AT&T just unveiled more details about its new HBO-branded offering, HBO Max, which CEO Randall Stephenson said it’s not Netflix or Disney. HBO Max will be slightly more expensive than Netflix — and a lot more costly than Disney+ — and it’ll only launch next May. But the service will include a ton of original programming, as well as other licensed content. Yes, you’re getting the old Game of Thrones, as well as a brand new spin-off.
AT&T explains in a press release that HBO Max will cost $14.99 per month next May. The media giant is targeting 50 million domestic subscribers and between 75 million and 90 million premium subscribers by the end of 2025 in the US, Latin America, and Europe.
At launch, HBO Max will be available for free to the 10 million HBO subscribers on AT&T. HBO Now subscribers who’ve paid for the service via HBONow.com will also get free access to HBO Max. Furthermore, AT&T customers “on premium video, mobile and broadband services” will be offered bundles that include HBO Max with no additional costs.
HBO Max will have 10,000 hours of “curated premium content at launch,” including the entire HBO service, as well as the HBO Max Originals that will target several audiences. Content from Warner Bros., New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes, and other channels will also be available on HBO Max. An ad-based tier will be available in 2021, but AT&T is yet to confirm it. Also, it’s unclear how many users a single HBO Max account will support, and how many simultaneous streams will be available, although the company does talk multiple profiles per subscriptions in its announcement.
Netflix starts at $8.99 per month in the US, while Disney+ is a lot more affordable, at $5.99 per month. Moreover, Disney ran several promotions that dropped the streaming service’s monthly cost to less than $4.
The press release also reveals a couple of unique streaming features that will be available on HBO Max, including Recommended by Humans and Co-Viewing. The first one will deliver novel ways of discovering content, with “talent and influencers” making recommendations. Co-Viewing is the more interesting one of the two, as it’ll allow viewers to create shared homepages that are entirely separate from personal homepages to view certain shows with members of their household, without impacting their profiles.
The service will also support content hubs, personalized profiles, and homepages (it’s unclear how many of them will be available per account), downloads for offline viewing, and parental controls.
The full list of new shows that have been commissioned for HBO Max, as well as all the other content AT&T is licensing for launch is available at this link.