AT&T’s New Streaming Service

AT&T’s WarnerMedia will launch its streaming video service in beta later this year, bundling HBO, Cinemax, and a library of Warner Bros. movies and TV. The package will cost “between $16 and $17 a month,” a strange pricing strategy.

Currently, HBO Go costs $14.99 a month — so AT&T’s service is basically that, with the addition of Cinemax and likely a bunch of DC Movies for up to a couple more bucks a month. WSJ reported that the service is expected to be fully up and running next March. Eventually, the service will introduce its own original programming as well, though it’s unclear how grand those ambitions are.

WarnerMedia is also considering a less expensive ad-supported version of the service sometime in 2020. Previously, Jeff Stankey, the CEO of WarnerMedia, announced that AT&T’s streaming video service would have three different (and confusing) price tiers. So, with this report, we’re down to possibly two tiers. Or maybe it will just be one.

Still, as the Streaming Wars heat up, it’s unclear what the WarnerMedia package can offer most consumers in an aggressive, competitive market. The reported pricing is still more expensive than Hulu or Netflix’s current $11.99 and $12.99/month plans, and much more expensive than the soon-to-be-launched Disney+ service announced at $6.99/month. There’s also Amazon Prime Video, which works out to about $10/month with all the other added benefits of Prime. Oh, and there’s also the Apple TV Plus subscription, which has yet to announce a price or launch date but at least boasts a slew of high-profile collaborations in the works.

After establishing its service, the WSJ’s sources say WarnerMedia could add more content such as live sports or events to its offerings, though the company will have work hard not to anger cable providers who may get undercut due to WarnerMedia’ s aggressive pricing for its upcoming streaming content package.

But now that Game of Thrones is over, the biggest reason to pay for HBO is now behind us, so WarnerMedia better have a damn good pitch if it expects to shell out another $15 to $20 a month for even more streaming content.

Todd “Bubba” Horwitz