AT&T will launch a new direct-to-consumer streaming service next year, the company announced today. Yes, another one. AT&T currently already operates cord cutter-friendly streaming services DirecTV Now and the low-cost WatchTV, but its new service will be focused on WarnerMedia properties, including HBO.
The move follows AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, which completed this past June. That means AT&T also now operates Time Warner’s streaming services HBO GO, for pay TV viewers, and HBO NOW, for cord cutters.
The upcoming, subscription-based service will include all of WarnerMedia’s properties, like HBO plus WarnerMedia’s other TV and movie franchises, as well as third-party licensed content.
And unlike DirecTV Now and Watch TV, the focus is not on streaming live TV, but on-demand content.
In that way, it’s being positioned more as a Netflix competitor, or even a rival to Disney’s upcoming streaming service, also due in 2019.
WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey discussed the service onstage at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit on Wednesday, but didn’t confirm its pricing or even what titles, specifically, would be included.
However, as CNBC noted, the company owns many major media brands like “Harry Potter,” “Batman” and shows from cable TV networks like CNN, TNT and TBS.
The service will cost more than HBO NOW, Variety also reports, and will be competitive in terms of content spend with Netflix. Currently, Warner Media spends $2.5 million to Netflix’s $8 billion on content, its report said.
In a statement, Stankey confirmed the new service would arrive 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,” Stankey said.
“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,” he added.