What you need to know
- HBO Max will launch in May 2020.
- It will cost $14.99 per month.
- There will be over 10,000 hours of content at launch, with 38 new and original series on HBO alone in the next year.
WarnerMedia is launching HBO Max with a bang in May of next year for a price of $14.99 per month, with over 10,000 hours of content, including the entire HBO library, a slate of original content and a "choice slate of acquired and library programming."
If you were hoping to have access to all of WarnerMedia's content's different brands, that bit of marketing speak means you'll probably be disappointed, but the company believes its highly curated content, even if less voluminous than competitors initially, will provide enough value to justify its $14.99 per month asking price. Quality over quantity seems to be HBO Max's driving philosophy.
That's especially true if you're a woman or below 40, as the company hopes to use its original content to balance out the demographic appeal of its varied and disparate stack of media properties. If you're even younger, you might relish The Not-so-late Show with Elmo that's also launching with the subscription service.
So, exactly what will the 10,000 hours of content comprise of? The entire HBO library, of course. HBO will be boasting 38 new and returning series on HBO Max in the next year, including new shows like The Gilded Age and The Nevers. There'll be 31 Max Originals in the same year. This will total 69 original in 2020, with the number rising to 88 the next year.
For young adults and anime lovers, there's also a curated offering of Adult Swim and Crunchyroll content. And HBO Max will have exclusive streaming rights for Studio Ghibli's movies, of course.
Coming to exclusives, there's a lot to talk about. HBO and Max Originals will be exclusive to HBO Max — naturally — but the streaming service will also have exclusive streaming rights to South Park and Rick and Morty. If you're a fan of sitcoms, HBO Max will also be the sole home of Friends and The Big Bang Theory. And, of course, you can't talk about HBO today without Game of Thrones. The company is commissioning a direct-to-series order for House of the Dragon, which will serve as a prequel to HBO's most acclaimed show to date.
On the silver screen, there will be 1,800 movies available at launch, including Todd Phillips' seminal Joker, which just became the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time. Also included are the last 10 years of DC's movie releases. Superman and Batman get special love in the DC universe, along with 40 years worth of their cinema history available to stream on HBO Max.
To recap, HBO Max will cost $14.99 per month at launch. If you're an existing HBO, AT&T TV or a mobile & broadband bundle subscriber, though, you'll get HBO Max for free, with the company aiming for a 'seamless' transition. A year after launch, the company plans to add an advertisement-supported tier that lowers the subscription price.
By that time, WarnerMedia will also have turned its attention to the rest of the world, with localized versions of the service launching in Latin America and Europe by 2021. The company hopes to have as many as 75-90 million subscribers worldwide within five years of launch, thanks to its 4 billion dollar investment in the product over the coming years.
"We will mobilize our entire company," said one of the execs on stage. That is undoubtedly evident given the scale of what WarnerMedia is trying to do. Whether customers will receive its efforts with as much enthusiasm remains to be seen.