The ink has barely had a chance to dry on AT&T’s acquisition of Time-Warner and we are already getting word on a new streaming service that is coming out of the deal. It is being reported that WarnerMedia – the umbrella group that encompasses HBO, Turner, and Warner Bros. – is planning to launch their own streaming service in late 2019.
According to an internal memo obtained by CNN, WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey describes the new, as-yet-unnamed service thusly –
Our service will start with HBO and the genre defining programming that viewers crave. On top of that we will package content from Turner and Warner Bros. with their deep brand connections.
So in effect, this would be a service that would conceivably give subscribers access to everything from Game Of Thrones, Westworld and other HBO generated content to films like the Harry Potter franchise to older fare owned by Warner and screened on Turner Classic Movies.
Content would only be derived from the company’s entertainment holdings, so news outlet CNN would be excluded from the service.
The launch of this new service will not negate any current content distribution deals that Warners currently has in place. Thus, the superhero shows that the studio produces for The CW television network like Arrow and The Flash will still air there as well as appear on streaming service Hulu for the foreseeable future.
What is unclear is the fate of the eight other services owned by Warners that currently exist – HBO Now, Boomerang, FilmStruck, DC Universe, DramaFever, Crunchyroll, VRV, and Rooster Teeth First. It is possible that they will continue on their own, each serving niche audiences who might not favor much of the broader range of content that this new service could potentially offer and who may prefer to pay a smaller fee for their niche service than a potentially larger monthly fee for a majority of content they may not want.
The timing of the service’s launch coincides with the launch of a similar service that Disney has previously announced and is probably no coincidence. Stankey has stated that he thinks that the market is quite capable of supporting more than two streaming services, though he speculated that the upper range may be around ten. With it being likely that other media giants are planning their own services to deliver their content catalog to consumers, we will see how all of this eventually shakes out over the next couple of years.