Add AT&T to the list of media giants launching streaming services that revolve solely around their own content. The company’s WarnerMedia is launching a streaming offering in the fourth quarter of 2019 with access to the group’s collection of movies and TV shows.
Most details are under wraps. However, CNN has obtained an internal memo from CEO John Stankey showing that it would “start with HBO” and “package” Turner and Warner Bros. content. It would be a stand-alone service. Stankey stressed that it would “complement” the company’s conventional TV distribution. It’s trying to avoid a fight with cable and satellite giants worried they’ll lose customers, in other words.
The service will focus on entertainment and won’t include news “at first,” CNN added.
Whether or not it’s an enticing offering will depend on both the content lineup and pricing. However, the announcement would also raise concerns about the fate of WarnerMedia’s programming on other services.
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Disney, for instance, won’t bring future Marvel movies to Netflix now that its own platform is on the way (in a similar time frame to Warner’s, we’d note). Will Warner do the same? There’s a worry that viewers will have to subscribe to a raft of studio-specific services just to watch everything they want, which could either raise rates or drive people to piracy.
Warner Bros. slate of television and films does not have the impact that Disney has. It could be a harder sell for WarnerMedia to get people to drop some money on their product. Disney has a built in fanbase that WarnerMedia wishes they had. While the CW super hero shows carry some weight, their DC franchise has yet to strike fire.
It is expected that Warner will start a lot smaller than DC will offer. It is worth mentioning that DC Entertainment will have their own streaming service. This would complicate matter of how much is too much? It would be a forgone conclusion that the impact by Warner Bros. is great, but the branding isn’t there. Everyone can name Disney properties, but can anyone name Warner properties?