Everyone’s talking about HBO Max, the upcoming streaming service from AT&T. It’s expected to combine HBO, Cinemax, TNT, TBS, and exclusive content all together in one. The launch price is rumored to be a low $15 a month, but that’s not official. There may even be bundling opportunities for AT&T customers, but that’s a rumor too. The real question for the people who read this blog is, will there be a bundling opportunity for DIRECTV subscribers?
What is HBO Max?
HBO Max is AT&T’s way of battling the upcoming Disney+ streaming service. As we all know, Disney owns Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and of course its own animated content. (It also owns Hulu, ESPN, ABC, and the Muppets, although that may or may not be important.) When their streaming service launches, they’ll be slowly pulling their content away from other streaming services until the only place to get any of that stuff is Disney+.
In many ways HBO Max is the same idea. AT&T owns WarnerMedia, which owns everything on HBO, the DC Universe, everything on the CW, and a huge amount of classic content including Friends. You can expect all that stuff to leave Netflix and move over to HBO Max, where AT&T hopes you’ll spend a lot of your time.
In order to get you to like their services, both Disney+ and HBO Max will feature new, exclusive content that you can’t get anywhere else.
That exclusive content is the real question for DIRECTV customers.
It’s pretty likely that most of the content you’ll find on HBO Max, including the DC films and Friends, will also be on DIRECTV satellite. Maybe not everything all the time but I’m betting a lot of it will be. After all you can still get Friends over the air and on demand. But there are about 20 original projects planned for HBO Max that can’t be found anywhere else. (Read about them here.)
If you subscribe to DIRECTV’s Premier package, you’re getting HBO and Cinemax and pretty much every other Warner channel. But, you won’t get that original stuff. Will subscribers want to shell out another $15 a month just for that? Will some of them drop down to a lower programming tier and move to HBO Max instead?
What makes sense to me….
Of course it would be neat if HBO Max were bundled as part of Premier. That would be an extra added benefit and would drive DIRECTV satellite up a bit. However I don’t expect it. What I do hope for is an incremental bump. Imagine if you could add HBO Max for $4/month if you had Premier. That makes a lot of sense. You’re already paying for other premium channels and this would be an easy add on bonus. I hope that’s what they do. I know I would pay $4 or $5 for that and I think a lot of other people would too.
Hopefully that’s the direction it will go but there hasn’t been a formal announcement about price yet. Something is expected soon and from the rumors I’ve heard, it’s going to be pretty good.