Another major player has just entered the streaming giant race. WarnerMedia, the newly named company that has come as a result of the AT&T and Time Warner merger, has announced plans for their own direct-to-consumer streaming service, set to launch in late 2019. This will be roughly at the same time as Disney launches their own streaming service, which has been hyped up quite a bit. Both of these giant companies are aiming to compete with Netflix, who is currently the king when it comes to the streaming game.
The announcement was made by WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in Los Angeles. The media conglomerate consists of HBO, Turner and Warner Bros., meaning that they have a great deal of attractive content and sizable resources at their disposal. Stankey had this to say about the company's plans for their currently unnamed streaming service.
"Today we announced plans to launch a new direct-to-consumer streaming service in the fourth quarter of 2019. This is another benefit of the AT&T/Time Warner merger, and we are committed to launching a compelling and competitive product that will serve as a complement to our existing businesses and help us to expand our reach by offering a new choice for entertainment with the WarnerMedia collection of films, television series, libraries, documentaries and animation loved by consumers around the world. We expect to create such a compelling product that it will help distributors increase consumer penetration of their current packages and help us successfully reach more customers."
The company already has a couple of streaming services. Most notably, there is HBO Now, which goes for $15 a month and currently has more than 5 million subscribers. They also recently launched DC Universe, a DC-branded streaming service that goes for $9 a month. There's also FilmStruck, which is their streaming service geared toward film buffs. But this new service looks to be a much bigger venture that will be geared toward the average consumer.
John Stankey declined to discuss pricing at the present time. Though, he did mention that it would be more than what HBO's streaming service currently goes for. In other words, it won't be cheap, relatively speaking. Netflix, for example, costs $10.99 for its most popular plan. AT&T has addressed the cost of launching a streaming service in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
"We expect financial support to launch this product to come from a combination of incremental efficiencies within the WarnerMedia operations, consolidating resources from sub-scale D2C efforts, fallow library content, and technology reuse. We expect to defer some licensing revenues to later periods in the form of increased customer subscription revenues."
Streaming services are the future and major companies like WarnerMedia and Disney know it. Disney has been pouring tons of resources into their upcoming service, tentatively titled Disney Play, which will also launch late next year. Though, it sounds like they are going to have an edge in the price department and, not for nothing, they have Star Wars and Marvel on their side. But Warner has the benefit of everything on HBO, as well as Harry Potter and a host of other popular franchises.
This is all to try and catch up to Netflix, which currently has 125 million subscribers worldwide, with 56 million in the U.S. WarnerMedia, Disney and anyone else hoping not to be left in the dust has a lot of catching up to do. We'll be sure to keep you posted as more details on the as-of-yet-untitled streaming service are made available. This news was previously reported by Variety.