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Published on February 12th, 2019 | by Brad Gibson

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WarnerMedia’s planned streaming service to start as beta with an HBO subscriber discount

A WarnerMedia executive hinted Monday at plans for its future streaming service with HBO at the “core” of a direct-to-consumer offering that is expected to launch as a beta in the fourth quarter. Strong implications were made that current HBO customers will be offered a discount if they subscribe.

TBS/TNT President and WarnerMedia Chief Creative Officer Kevin Reilly (shown above) presented his vision for the yet unnamed Warner streaming service, which AT&T first announced in October, during the Television Critics Association winter press tour presentation.

The service will rely heavily on content from WarnerMedia, including the libraries of Warner Bros. studios, New Line Cinema, HBO, The CW, Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS, Adult Swim, DC Universe, Looney Tunes, and Hanna Barbara. 

He confirmed the service will be built “on the foundational ethos of HBO,” but steered clear of announcing a monthly price for the service, suggesting tiered pricing as an option along with a discount for HBO customers.

“It is a separate service,” Reilly commented. “HBO will be offered as a standalone. Those are the customer base we will begin speaking to and offering [special] pricing. They can buy the service standalone…We will begin speaking to those consumers and saying, ‘Here’s something else you may want to have.’”.

Reilly explained it will be a three-tiered service consisting of movies, original programming and blockbuster movies and finally the company’s library content (some of which could be licensed from third-parties), including classics, kids and family and niche programming.

The executive confirmed the services initial launch will begin with a beta in the fourth quarter. “Our beta will not have original programming but we will introduce it in 2020. Expect it in all the verticals: kids and family, teens up to adult,” he said.

Reilly said subscribers to both HBO Go or HBO Now and the Warner streaming service will gain access using a single login, unlike Netflix or Amazon Prime Video.

“When they’re offered together it will be a seamless consumer experience,” Reilly said.

Reilly hinted some TV shows already on Netflix will become “the crown jewels” of the Warner service. Commenting on how the TV show Friends – licensed to Netflix for a reported $100 million – became a popular re-run, he suggested the program will soon have a new home.

“We’re not pulling [Friends] away [from Netflix] but it certainly is something we’re looking to do [at some point],” he said. “There is no piece of content in the Warner Media portfolio that will not be looked at for the service.”

AT&T’s new service is “not a defensive move” aimed at Netflix,” adding, “We don’t need to beat Netflix. We just need, and desire, to offer a differentiated alternative.”

Reilly took a shot at probably one of its biggest future competitors, Disney Plus, saying they would be a choice alternative to the service.

“We are going to offer a very, really excellent section of the service for kids and families that will have family protection mechanisms,” Reilly said. “We are building a much broader service than what I understand the Disney Plus product to be, I presume aimed at families. From the get-go it will be seen as two very different choices…We’re not looking to battle with Disney. This will be its own service that happens to include kids and family.”

 

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the Associated Press and United Press International.



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