AT&T's WarnerMedia to Launch OTT Video Service in Q4 2019
Consumers clamoring for one more over-the-top service to subscribe to have had their prayers answered. AT&T division WarnerMedia confirmed yesterday that it will launch a direct-to-consumer service in the fourth quarter of 2019. WarnerMedia includes HBO, Turner, and Warner Bros.
The news didn't include the service's name or any pricing information. The company confirmed the upcoming service over a year in advance to give itself time to sort out contracts with existing partners, such as Netflix and Comcast, and sign new licenses with third-parties without the need for secrecy.
HBO already has an OTT service with HBO Now, and the new service will include HBO content combined with programming from Turner and Warner Bros. It's expected to cost more than HBO Now, which goes for $15 per month. At the moment, it's unclear if HBO Now will continue to exist once the new service is launched. The service will focus on on-demand content, like Netflix does, rather than offering live channels. While AT&T also owns CNN, the service won't offer news at launch.
WarnerMedia sees having its own direct-to-consumer service as crucial in this time of shifting consumer viewing habits, says WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey.
WarnerMedia became part of AT&T in June. It recently launched DC Universe, a $7.99 per month service for fans of the DC superheroes. Disney's upcoming OTT service, which will include Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Disney properties, will debut late in 2019, as well.
The company is listening to what consumers want in order to differentiate its offering. By asking questions and learning about pain points, it hopes to gain an advantage.
The as-yet-unnamed subscription service will include three pricing tiers, but what the prices are remains to be seen.
Investing in the future of streaming media and pay TV, Time Warner spends $583 million for an equity stake in Hulu in an all-cash transaction.
The studio has a variety of owned, partnered, and in-development online video concerns. Now they all live under the same umbrella.
The case should help educate the public in the difference between bandwidth throttling and settlement-free peering.