AT&T will launch its own WarnerMedia streaming service, to include HBO, in September. Following the announcement that Disney will take back its content to launch the Disney+ app this fall, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said he is optimistic about launching a stand-alone WarnerMedia service.
It appears that WarnerMedia will be including original programming along with existing content. According to Stephenson, the WarnerMedia service is “centered on HBO and significantly enhanced by the Warner Bros. library, which is a very, very deep and prolific library.” He also stated that AT&T will be making “significant investments.” It will also include shows from Warner Bros TV, TNT, TBS, and Cartoon Network.
WarnerMedia streaming will be separate from AT&Ts other streaming offerings, DirecTV and Watch TV. It’s no wonder that AT&T should turn its resources away from DirecTV, which has lost over a million of its 22 million subscribers in the last nine months.
Watch TV is AT&T’s budget live TV streaming offering. The month-to-month service has monthly fees that begin at $15 for 35 basic channels including Food Network, Comedy Central, AMC, A&E, and more. It’s available on mobile devices, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV. Oddly, adding premium channels to the service is more expensive than subscribing separately. HBO is $18 compared to $15 per month when subscribed on its own. Showtime is $14 with Watch TV and $11 in its stand-alone app. Starz is $14 versus $9 to stream from the Starz app. Hopefully, AT&T will have more thoughtful pricing on the WarnerMedia app.
Pricing for the WarnerMedia service will be set closer to launch. It’s possible that it could be offered at a lower price, similar to Disney+, which has announced a $7 per month subscription fee. Like Disney, WarnerMedia will be able to draw from a huge catalog, which includes blockbusters such as the Harry Potter movies, Terminator, Matrix, Lord of the Rings, The Lego Movie, Oceans Eleven and its sequels, and many more. The question is whether, like Disney, WarnerMedia will begin pulling back the rights to these films from other services like Netflix. This could force fans of Warner Bros. films to add the streaming service.
Along with the Warner Brothers film library, the streaming service will include HBO titles. It is uncertain how this will affect the current HBO Now. It is probable that the inclusion of HBO series will raise the price higher than Disney+.
For now, all we know is that more studios and networks are striking out to offer separate streaming apps. Those of us who are cord-cutters or who enjoy streaming will have to start seeking out our favorite titles, lest we have so many subscriptions that we exceed the price we were paying for satellite and cable. Perhaps the future of streaming will be to take advantage of month-to-month subscriptions and choose a specific app each month, canceling those we don’t want.