AT&T recently acquired Time Warner and re-named it WarnerMedia, and they are using those assets—HBO, Warner Bros., and Turner—to launch their own streaming service. A statement from WarnerMedia CEO John Stanley announcing the plans reads:
“Today we announced plans to launch a new direct-to-consumer streaming service in the fourth quarter of 2019. This is another benefit of the AT&T/Time Warner merger, and we are committed to launching a compelling and competitive product that will serve as a complement to our existing businesses and help us to expand our reach by offering a new choice for entertainment with the WarnerMedia collection of films, television series, libraries, documentaries and animation loved by consumers around the world. We expect to create such a compelling product that it will help distributors increase consumer penetration of their current packages and help us successfully reach more customers.”
You can certainly expect the unnamed streaming service to have HBO hits like Game of Thrones, The Wire, and The Sopranos, along with Warner Bros. content like Harry Potter and DC superhero films, including all-time classic The Dark Knight trilogy.
WarnerMedia is not lacking for content to launch its own streaming service, but they could also create original content that goes directly to the streaming service like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu have done.
This is a similar move to what Disney is doing launching a streaming service of its own. Disney’s streaming service is also set to launch in 2019, and it’s expected to be at a lower price than Netflix. Expect WarnerMedia’s service to come at around the same price as its competitors, with a potential discount or bundle for AT&T customers.
The statement from John Sankey indicates WarnerMedia has no plans to simply end its relationships with cable and satellite providers—like Comcast and DirecTV—that provide WarnerMedia shows and movies through premium packages. But the direct-to-consumer streaming service is another way to ensure they are hitting as many people as possible and ensures AT&T does not fall behind its competitors.