AT&T’s WarnerMedia has announced that it will launch a direct-to-consumer streaming service by the end of next year, pitting the telecom giant against Netflix, Amazon and other services that have disrupted the media industry.
The service is scheduled to launch in late 2019, the company said in a press release.
“We are committed to launching a compelling and competitive product that will serve as a complement to our existing business 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,” WarnerMedia chief John Stankey said in a statement.
Shortly after the statement went out, Stankey appeared on stage at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in Beverly Hills and explained that the new service would be “anchored by HBO,” but also include much of the other content that AT&T acquired when it bought Time Warner.
HBO will also continue to be offered as a stand-alone product. CNN’s live news coverage will not be included in the new streaming service, Stankey said.
When the new service launches, AT&T will enter a crowded direct-to-consumer landscape that includes Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, ESPN+ and, soon, a highly anticipated service from Apple — just to name a few.
When asked how many bundles consumers would be willing to subscribe to, Stankey put the number somewhere between two and ten.
Whatever the number, he said, “we want to be sure we have a seat at that table.”
AT&T acquired Time Warner for $85.4 billion in a deal originally struck in Oct. 2016, adding a trove of content including HBO, TNT, TBS, CNN and Warner Bros. film and TV operations to the company's existing telecommunications operations. The deal closed in July.