WarnerMedia unveils streamer HBO Max’s content plans

WarnerMedia has named its soon-to-launch streaming service HBO Max and unveiled its programming slate, which will include 10,000 hours of content ranging from classic comedy Friends to new original shows.

The streamer will house series including Batwoman (pictured) and Katy Keene from Warner Bros TV, which will debut on The CW and then be added to the US network’s own OTT platform. HBO Max will then be able to offer the shows 30-days prior to the premiere of the series’ second seasons.

The service, which is set to be beta-launched later this year and rolled out fully in the Spring, will also offer access to shows such as The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Pretty Little Liars.

It has already ordered a raft of original series, including an adaptation based around Frank Herbert’s novel Dune, true-life drama Tokyo Vice, and romantic comedy Love Life starring Anna Kendrick.

Greg Berlanti is also onboard four movies to be offered via the streaming platform, while Reese Witherspoon’s prodco Hello Sunshine has been tapped to produce two features. Further details are yet to be revealed.

Programming from HBO will also be offered, with the premium US cablenet’s forthcoming slate including shows such as Stephen King’s The Outsider, as well as series from sibling networks such as TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network and Adult Swim.

Pricing details for the service have not yet been revealed, although Disney recently said its streaming offering would come in at $7 month – around half the price of a similar Netflix subscription. AT&T-owned WarnerMedia, which unveiled its management team in March, also already offers standalone service HBO Now, which costs $15 in the US and is available from multiple cable operators.

Bob Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct-to-consumer, said: “HBO Max will bring together the diverse riches of WarnerMedia to create programming and user experiences not seen before in a streaming platform.

“HBO’s world-class programming leads the way, the quality of which will be the guiding principle for our new array of Max Originals, our exciting acquisitions, and the very best of the Warner Bros libraries, starting with the phenomenon that is Friends.”

The streamer’s launch comes at a time of huge competition in the streaming market, with Disney, NBCUniversal and Apple all preparing to enter a market that has to date been dominated by Amazon Prime and Netflix.

The latter has been particularly hit as media giants pull back content for their own OTT services, with Netflix losing an output deal for shows from the The CW, which is owned by Warner Bros and CBS, earlier this year. It is now also preparing to lose the entire library of Friends, reputedly one of its most popular shows, after HBO Max paid around $400 million for rights over five years.

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