Having first announced HBO Max in June, WarnerMedia last night provided further details on the upcoming streaming service, which will combine HBO content with shows and films from CNN, TNT, TBS, The CW, TCM, Adult Swim, and much more.
AT&T has revealed that HBO Max will launch in May of 2020 with 10,000 hours of programming pre-loaded, and the service will cost $14.99 per month – the same price as HBO, but with much more content. From The Hollywood Reporter:
HBO Max will be filled with 10,000 hours of programming from across the media conglomerate’s divisions including such TV hits as Friends, The Big Bang Theory and South Park; Warner Bros. films including Joker; the full HBO catalog; and originals such as the previously announced Ansel Elgort drama Tokyo Vice, a Grease spinoff and a Gossip Girl sequel.
HBO's library of content will include all the big hits like Game of Thrones and Succession, along with classics like Sex and the City and Sopranos, as well as new releases like the forthcoming Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon. HBO Max will also have 1,800 film titles including all DC movies and, eventually, the full 2020 feature film slate.
AT&T will offer HBO Max for free to its existing 10 million HBO customers. WarnerMedia also revealed that it will offer the service as subscription-only in its first year, before launching an ad-supported version in 2021. There are also plans for live and interactive programming as well as special events.
The new $14.99 a month service will arrive almost two years after AT&T completed its acquisition of Time Warner, which owns HBO. It will compete with Apple TV+ and Disney+, both of which will cost $4.99 per month when they launch in November.
HBO and WarnerMedia today announced an all-new streaming service called HBO Max, which will combine HBO content with shows and films from CNN, TNT, TBS, The CW, TCM, Adult Swim, and much more.
Essentially, HBO Max will include all HBO original content, WarnerMedia channels, and shows made only for HBO Max. These Max Originals include shows based on Dune, Station Eleven, and Gremlins. You'll have to subscribe to HBO Max to see these shows, as they won't appear on HBO GO or HBO NOW.
The full list of Max Originals follows:
“Dune: The Sisterhood,” an adaptation of Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson’s book based in the world created by Frank Herbert’s book Dune, from director Denis Villeneuve
“Tokyo Vice,” based on Jake Adelstein’s non-fiction first-hand account of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police beat starring Ansel Elgort
“The Flight Attendant,” a one-hour thriller series based on the novel by Chris Bohjalian, which will star Kaley Cuoco, who is also executive producing alongside Greg Berlanti
“Love Life,” a 10-episode half-hour romantic comedy anthology series starring “Pitch Perfect” star Anna Kendrick, who will also executive produce alongside Paul Feig
“Station Eleven,” a postapocalyptic limited series based on Emily St. John Mandel’s international bestseller, adapted by Patrick Somerville and directed by Hiro Murai
“Made for Love,” a 10-episode, half-hour, straight-to-series adaptation based on the tragicomic novel of the same name by Alissa Nutting, also from Somerville and directed by S.J. Clarkson
“Gremlins,” an animated series from Warner Bros. Animation and Amblin Entertainment based on the original movie
Existing HBO shows like Game of Thrones and Big Little Lies will be available on HBO Max. Other content on HBO Max includes all of Friends, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Pretty Little Liars, and many of the DC shows on The CW, like Batwoman.
There are also some exclusive deals with producers Greg Berlanti (director of Love, Simon and producer of Arrow and The Flash) and Reese Witherspoon. Berlanti is set to produce four movies focused in the young adult space and Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine company will produce at least two films. In total, HBO Max is set to premiere with 10,000 hours of premium content.
“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,’” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman, WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-To-Consumer.
The full list of programming companies supporting HBO Max include: Warner Bros., New Line, DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, and Looney Tunes. WarnerMedia said there will be more programming than these channels and companies, but hasn't been specific about what those might be yet.
The new service is being announced one year after AT&T completed its acquisition of Time Warner, which owns HBO. At the time, AT&T leadership suggested it was planning to increase the amount of content released by HBO so that the company has more hours of user engagement, instead of only seeing peak numbers during major broadcasts, like for the final season of Game of Thrones.
When the new TV app became available to test in the iOS 12.3 and tvOS 12.3 betas in late March, subscription options were limited to Showtime, Starz, Smithsonian, and Tastemade. As noted by The Streamable, however, additional channels have been added as of the fourth betas of iOS 12.3 and tvOS 12.3 this week.
The most notable addition is HBO for $14.99 per month, in time for the final three episodes of Game of Thrones, while other recently added channels include Cinemax, EPIX, Sundance Now, Lifetime Movie Club, and UMC.
When the new TV app is publicly released on the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV later this month, other networks that will be supported in Apple TV Channels include CBS All Access, Nickelodeon, Mubi, The History Channel Vault, Comedy Central Now, Acorn TV, Britbox, Noggin, MTV Hits, and Shudder.
Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared on HBO on Sunday in a pre-recorded interview with Axios, in which he discussed several issues including Apple's relationship with Google and the need for privacy regulations in the technology sector.
During the interview, which was conducted at Apple Park, Cook emphasized user privacy as a "core value" of Apple's that reaches way back to before smartphones had become a feature of people's daily lives.
It's not that it fits in with what we do, it's that this is a core value of ours. If you look back over time, we were talking about privacy well before iPhone, so we've always believed that privacy was at the core of our civil liberties. This is not a matter of privacy versus profits or privacy versus technical innovation. That's a false choice. What we've done is, your device has incredible intelligence about you, but I don't have to have all of that as a company.
Given Apple's policy on user data privacy, Cook was then asked by Axios reporters why he was comfortable taking billions of dollars from Google to make it Apple's default search engine. Cook responded to the question by highlighting the additional security and privacy measures that its Safari browser provides.
I think [Google's] search engine is the best. Look at what we've done with the controls we've built in. We have private web browsing, we have intelligent tracker prevention. What we've tried to do is come up with ways to help our users through their course of the day. It's not a perfect thing – I'd be the first person to say that – but it goes a long way to helping.
Google paid Apple nearly $3 billion in 2017 to remain as the default search engine on iPhones and iPads, according to U.S. research and brokerage firm Bernstein. Apple's iOS devices are said to contribute about 50 percent to Google's mobile search revenue.
Elsewhere in the interview, Cook covered the issue of government regulation of user privacy, saying he was "not a big fan of regulation" but a "big believer" in the free market. "But we have to admit when the free market's not working, and it hasn't worked here," Cook admitted. "I think it's inevitable that there will be some level of regulation."
Cook has called for "well-crafted" government regulation in the past, most recently following the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the latter amassed data on 50 million Facebook users without their consent.
Cook was also asked by Axios whether he was concerned about the male-dominated culture in the tech industry. The Apple CEO said he thought Silicon Valley had been open and accepting to many different people from different walks of life, but that when it came to gender, the Valley had "missed it" and so had the technology industry in general.
"We spend a lot of time on this and we're constantly asking ourselves how we can improve more and listening to what our folks tell us, and I believe others are doing that too," Cook said. "I'm actually encouraged at this point that there will be a marked improvement over time."
Cook also revealed in interview that his daily routine involves rising just before 4:00 a.m. each morning, reading through user comments for an hour, and then heading to the gym for an hour, which helps him "keep stress at bay."
The full HBO interview has yet to be made available online, but we'll post a link in this article if and when it does.
Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.
On June 19, former AT&T executive and new chief executive of Warner Media John Stankey spoke to a group of HBO employees about changes coming to the premium cable company in the near future. The discussion was held in the wake of AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner, which owns HBO, and also included HBO's chief executive officer Richard Plepler.
The telecommunications company previously stated that it would take a "hands-off approach" to running HBO, but The New York Times this weekend reported on Stankey's speech and it sounds like that might not be the case. According to a video of the discussion, Stankey explained Warner Media's intent to align HBO more alongside streaming companies like Netflix in order to increase its subscriber base, although he refrained from referencing Netflix by name.
This means creating more content that releases at a faster pace, in comparison to HBO's current stable of limited Sunday night-focused shows. According to Stankey, the goal is to increase the hours per day viewers watch HBO, which is currently less than rivals like Netflix and Hulu because of HBO's smaller catalog.
“We need hours a day,” Mr. Stankey said, referring to the time viewers spend watching HBO programs. “It’s not hours a week, and it’s not hours a month. We need hours a day. You are competing with devices that sit in people’s hands that capture their attention every 15 minutes.”
Continuing this thread, Stankey specifically stated that more hours of user engagement means that Warner Media can "get more data and information" to monetize through advertisements and new subscription options.
“I want more hours of engagement. Why are more hours of engagement important? Because you get more data and information about a customer that then allows you to do things like monetize through alternate models of advertising as well as subscriptions, which I think is very important to play in tomorrow’s world.”
As the discussion continued, Stankey appeared to have butted heads slightly with Plepler on the topic of HBO's monetization, which Stankey believes can be increased through his new methods. Plepler claimed that the company is already a consistent moneymaker, to which Stankey responded: "Yes, yes you do... Just not enough."
Stankey and Warner Media hope that an increased output of original content will boost HBO's 40 million paid subscribers in the United States, which Stankey said as of now "was not going to cut it." Comparatively, Netflix earlier this year had 55 million U.S. subscribers and Hulu in May had 20 million.
HBO's business currently expands across paid cable add-on packages, the connected HBO GO app, and standalone HBO NOW app. Stankey said that Warner Media's plans will kick off soon and "there's going to be more work" for HBO employees over the next twelve months, which he called a "dog year."
While Apple wasn't mentioned in the discussion, the Cupertino company is another upcoming competitor in the streaming TV market, with plans to debut more than a dozen television shows beginning sometime in 2019. Although the distribution of these shows remains unclear, the company is rumored to be planning a bundle with original TV content, Apple Music, and more.
Last month, HBO announced a new project called "Mosaic," a murder-mystery TV show that allows you to interact with and discover branching paths based on characters you choose to follow. This interactive version of Mosaic has now arrived in the form of an app for iOS and tvOS, and in 2018 a traditional, linear version of the story will debut on HBO. HBO will air the plot line that creators Ed Solomon and Steven Soderbergh envision for the series, which viewers can compare with their own versions.
The free app allows you to choose from various viewing orders, character decisions, and branching information options over the course of a 7.5-hour mini series, which stars Sharon Stone, Garrett Hedlund, Beau Bridges, Paul Reubens, and more. "Mosaic" won't just be a one-off series, with Soderbergh telling TechCrunch that he has made two more "made-for-Mosaic" shows, which will be coming after this first series launches. Soderbergh referred to the app as an "open source format" that will be available to other creatives in the future.
Soderbergh says “I looked at this as sort of an open source format that other fimmakesrs can come in and push.” Beyond the next two Mosaic titles he’s making, it’s unclear if other creators will launch their own separate apps based on the Mosaic tech, or if today’s app will become a hub for viewing or even buying this branching narrative content.
Soderbergh explained that the outcome of the story doesn't change because of choices you make, but that the app is more focused on what information you have -- or lack -- based on the branches you've taken. On Apple TV and iOS devices, the branching narrative will pop up with options after the end of certain scenes, letting you decide what a character should do next or switch to another plot line completely.
As you delve more into the mystery, you'll unlock "Discoveries" with extra clips, documents, and secrets that serve as additional pieces of the show's overall puzzle.
“The outcome and the events of the story don’t change based on your choices” says Soderbergh who avoided making Mosaic an overly-complicated video game. “It’s merely what information do you have about the story based on what you’ve been following.’ Some people like to just keep making choices and get to the end of a path, some people like to minesweep” jumping between separate characters in chronological order.
The Mosaic app was developed by PodOp, which was said to have filed 14 patents for the technology behind the interactive storytelling experience. The developer built storyboard management software that assisted Soderbergh and Solomon in planning out and scripting the branching narrative, as well as analytics tools that will help HBO and the creators see how audiences respond to the new format. If you'd prefer to wait for a more traditional experience, HBO's linear cut of the show will be six hours and debut on January 22, 2018.
You can download Mosaic on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV for free starting today. [Direct Link]
HBO recently announced a new TV project in the works by director Steven Soderbergh called "Mosaic." The show will air as a six-part linear narrative in early 2018, but in addition to the traditional distribution, HBO is launching an app where viewers can watch the show, make decisions, and help shape the outcome of certain events (via The Verge).
The Mosaic iOS app will be available to download for free beginning in November, and it will let viewers choose what point of view they want to follow the story, effectively building their own experience from material written and directed by Ed Solomon and Soderbergh, respectively. According to HBO, each choice "builds upon one another," leading to different versions of the same scene, and different endings.
In January 2018, the linear version of Mosaic will air on HBO and the network said that this will allow viewers to compare their own version of the story with Soderbergh's narrative.
“MOSAIC is a branching narrative piece. While branching narratives have been around forever, technology now allows, I hope, for a more elegant, intuitive form of engagement than used to be possible. Also, we weren’t reverse engineering the story to fit an existing piece of technology; the story was being created in lockstep with the technical team. The fluidity of that relationship made me feel comfortable because I wanted it to be a simple, intuitive experience. I didn’t want moments where you are making a decision to feel like interruptions.”
In both mediums, the show will star Sharon Stone, Garrett Hedlund, Beau Bridges, Paul Reubens, and others. The iOS app will include character profiles and various pieces of content -- like newspaper clippings and voice recordings -- that serve to deepen the show's story. The plot itself is largely being kept under wraps by HBO and Soderbergh, but is expected to have some murder mystery elements.