Advanced Television

HBO Max goes live in US

May 27, 2020

WarnerMedia’s new SVoD service, HBO Max, has gone live across the US with 10,000 hours of programming as the company looks to compete with the likes of Netflix, Prime Video and Disney+.

The service already caught the attention of many whilst in development by acquiring the streaming rights to the likes of Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Rick and Morty and South Park in deals worth millions of dollars, whilst its content chief, Kevin Reilly, insisted in an interview with Business Insider that he still has “a whole list” of potential acquisitions and that the “headline grabbers will continue to come.”

It also has many big budget productions in the pipeline including DC projects (Green Lantern and Justice League TV series), a number of Adventure Time specials, Seth Rogen comedy An American Pickle, and new episodes of Looney Tunes. A more in-depth list of content can be viewed here.

The service seemingly debuts at a perfect time, as the Covid-19 pandemic ensures many Americans are spending much more time at home and are thus seeking new TV content to watch. But the pandemic has also brought some unexpected blows, as productions across Hollywood have halted.

The Friends reunion special, which was planned to be available at launch, has been delayed, as has the much-anticipated Gossip Girl reboot which has been put back to 2021. Consequently, Anna Kendrick fronted romcom series, Love Life, has stepped in as the service’s flagship show at launch.

The service is available for a fee of $14.99 a month (higher than its competitors, but HBO says it has a far deeper library than most) – or free for AT&T pay-TV customer who are currently paying for HBO. Distribution deals are in place with the likes of Charter, Cox, Verizon, Altice, Apple TV, Hulu, YouTube TV, Android, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, and talks are reportedly ongoing with Roku.

“Today we are proud to introduce HBO Max – a dream that was created and nurtured by an incredible team of talented executives who dedicated the last year-and-a-half to making it a reality for consumers nationwide,” said Bob Greenblatt, Chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer. “However, this is just the beginning of our journey. We will continue to innovate and evolve this one-of-a-kind platform that brings together beloved programming from across the WarnerMedia family and around the world, while also paving the way for the creative voices of tomorrow.”

The service in expected to launch in Latin America some time in 2021, but there have been no whispers of a launch in Europe or any other territories.

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