WarnerMedia, the corporate umbrella for HBO, Warner Bros., and the Turner family of cable channels, is reportedly planning to launch its own subscription-based streaming service next year in a bid to directly challenge Disney, Netflix, Amazon, and other entrants in the video on-demand space.
CNN Business reports the new service, which doesn’t yet have a name, will feature HBO content, among other properties, from the beginning, and is slated to debut sometime in the fourth quarter of 2019.
It’s not known whether the new service would feature original programming, but there’s certainly an extensive back catalog of franchises WarnerMedia can call upon if new content is, in fact, part of the plan.
The AT&T-owned company controls a healthy lineup of studio-driven movies and TV shows from Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, HBO, and more — including Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Westworld, The Conjuring, the LEGO movie franchise, the Hanna-Barbera cartoon catalog, Looney Tunes, Mad Max, and Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films.
Its TNT holdings also give WarnerMedia free rein over sci-fi and fantasy series like Snowpiercer, The Alienist, The Last Ship, and Ridley Scott’s upcoming sci-fi drama series Raised by Wolves. One big question, though, may be how the new service approaches Warner Bros.’ lineup of DC movies, now that those films have found a streaming home on DC Universe, which WarnerMedia also owns.
There’s no early word on how the platform might be priced, nor on how WarnerMedia can successfully negotiate its way through the huge number of existing cable agreements that give third-party networks the rights to feature many of the movies that may one day find a home on the new service.
CEO John Stankey reportedly indicated WarnerMedia will try to strike a balance between promoting such content on the new platform and protecting its distribution relationship with conventional cable distributors.
Harry Potter already has his own theme park with Universal Studios, so does it makes sense that Warner Bros. should hand him the keys to his own streaming service, too?
And, assuming the new service does end up offering exclusive original content from your favorite Warner Bros. and HBO movies and TV shows, are you prepared to shell out for yet another digital subscription? Share your thoughts about the shifting streaming landscape in the comments.