WarnerMedia revealed major details about its upcoming streamer, HBO Max, last night (Oct. 29) during an unveiling event on the company’s iconic Warner Bros. lot.
Amidst new series and feature film announcements, WarnerMedia provided the first new information about its streamer’s launch since announcing the name in July.
The service, initially pegged for spring of 2020, is now officially set for a May 2020 launch, and has a price tag of US$14.99 per month, keeping it in a ballpark closer to Netflix than other less expensive upcoming streamers such as Disney+ and Apple TV+.
While it will initially only be offered on a subscription basis, WarnerMedia plans to expand the service to include an ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) option within its first year.
Existing AT&T HBO customers and HBO Now direct-billed subscribers will get HBO Max at no additional cost. Additionally, customers who subscribe to AT&T’s premium video, mobile and broadband packages will be offered bundles at launch with HBO Max, with details still to be determined.
While some announcements sure to excite viewers included a new Ridley Scott-helmed series and a Game of Thrones prequel series produced by author George R. R. Martin, non-fiction programming continues to occupy a large portion of the SVOD’s library space.
Last month, WarnerMedia unveiled the HBO Max non-fiction programming team under exec VP of original non-fiction and kids, Jennifer O’Connell, with Lizzie Fox tapped as SVP of non-fiction programming, Brett Boydstun as SVP of non-fiction production and Rebecca Quinn as VP of non-fiction original programming.
Since HBO Max was first announced, the nascent streamer has been building its unscripted slate with numerous greenlit projects.
Confirmed programs include the feature-length, pregnancy-focused documentary Expecting Amy (working title), from American stand-up comedian and actress Amy Schumer; a film about the life of the late chef, author and travel documentarian Anthony Bourdain, from Academy Award-winning Morgan Neville, produced with CNN Films and Focus Features; four other CNN-produced unscripted series; the floristry competition series Full Bloom from Eureka Productions; the Monica Lewinsky doc 15 Minutes of Shame from filmmaker Max Joseph and New York-based prodco Six West; Crazy Rich Asians-inspired docuseries The Ho’s, from Wallin Chambers Entertainment and Lionsgate Television; a travel series with Lisa Ling, part of an overall deal with the CNN host; four-part docuseries Equal, about the landmark events and unsung heroes of the LGBTQ+ movement, from Berlanti Productions, Scout Productions and actor Jim Parsons’ That’s Wonderful Productions; kids competition series Karma and Craftopia, from GoodStory Entertainment and B17 Entertainment respectively; and two new reality competition series, Legendary and Greatest Space.
While no new non-fiction programs were announced with the HBO Max launch details, WarnerMedia did reveal that several existing library titles would be made available on the platform in the first year of launch. These include The Bachelor, Impractical Jokers, United Shades of America with Kamau Bell, This is Life with Lisa Ling and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.
The service also boasts various features to help subscribers find the content they want, including human-powered recommendations and analytics, as well as co-viewing options that allow for the creation of shared homepages separate from personal homepages, allowing suggestions to remain tailored to both individual viewers and co-viewers.
“We are attracting top talent to bring in a wide variety of original ideas, curating the rich library assets of this company, and acquiring the most compelling third-party programming available,” said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer, HBO Max, president, TNT, TBS and truTV.