WarnerMedia is getting ready to enter the streaming game, but it's not going to be cheap. This is the media conglomerate that emerged as the result of the merger of AT&T and Warner Bros. last year. Given Netflix's dominance in the industry right now, it's clear that every major media company in the world is going to need to make a serious push into the streaming marketplace. So it absolutely makes sense that WarnerMedia is going to do just that. But they're certainly not trying to undercut the competition with their price point.
According to a new report, the as-of-yet-unnamed WarnerMedia streaming service will cost $16 or $17. What will potential subscribers get for their money? The service will package content from HBO, Cinemax and Warner Bros. vast movie and TV library together. What precisely that will include remains to be seen. What's perfectly clear is that they are going to be one of the most expensive streaming services on the market and, in order to amass subscribers, they're going to have to offer a whole lot in order to make it attractive. That could prove difficult, as the marketplace is already very crowded and it's only going to get worse.
Netflix is far and away the leader of the pack with nearly 150 million subscribers worldwide. Their most popular plan currently goes for $11.99 a month, following the recent price hike. Meanwhile, Disney is getting ready to enter the streaming service war with Disney+, which will launch in December. They will have a lot of attractive content from brands such as Marvel and Star Wars. Plus, it's only going to cost $6.99 per month at launch and will be ad-free. Apple is also gearing up to launch Apple+ later this year. WarnerMedia's $16/$17 per-month service will be ad-free as well. Though, they may release a less expensive ad-supported version next year. Hulu, which Disney also now fully controls, has a similar strategy of offering both ad-supported and ad-free versions.
So why is WarnerMedia charging so much? Much of it has to do with HBO. Their streaming service, HBO Now, currently goes for $14.99 a month. Apparently, their parent company doesn't want to undercut the value of their standalone HBO service. Plus, there's the matter of a large chunk of their business coming as the result of cable subscriptions. Streaming is the future but, for now at least, they don't want to encourage too much cord cutting. It's a tricky dance they have to do in order to make this work for all of their various revenue streams.
Aside from the marquee streaming services, niche services such as Shudder and The Criterion Channel are also out there, not to mention stuff like CBS All Access. Point being, it's going to possibly get very expensive for consumers to get all of the content these various services have to offer. The WarnerMedia streaming services is expected to be fully up and running by March 2020. This news was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.