Earlier this week came the announcement that WarnerMedia’s standalone subscription VOD streaming service has scored a name, HBO Max.
Said service will kick off with over 10,000 hours of content from Warner Brothers, New Line, truTV, Cartoon Network, TNT, TBS, DC Entertainment, Adult Swim, Turner Classic Movies, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes, Boomerang and CNN.
In addition, “Friends,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and “Pretty Little Liars” will be included exclusively on the service as the current home of “Friends,” Netflix, will give up the series next year when HBO Max launches Spring 2020 in the United States. WarnerMedia’s international plans for HBO Max have not been announced yet.
Now, further details have come to light in a new Variety report which looks closer at some of the smaller details of the service’s package and the content it will include.
For starters, “Friends” will NOT be leaving Netflix in some international territories outside of the United States. The classic 1990s NBC sitcom is second most-watched show on the Netflix, behind only “The Office,” and the popularity isn’t just domestic but abroad as well where subscriber growth potential is much higher than domestic. In fact, one analyst suggests Netflix’s international subscribers will outnumber its domestic ones by nearly 2:1 (129 million to 67 million) by next year.
Next up, while HBO Max will be getting the forthcoming new CW Shows like “Batwoman” and “Kathy Keene” a month before both show’s potential second season debuts in October 2020, all the CW’s existing shows currently on the service and getting new seasons for the upcoming 2019-2020 TV season like “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Supernatural,” “The 100,” “Riverdale,” etc. will not only remain on Netflix but will stay there for several years after the series finale is broadcast. That means the ones that don’t have an endpoint yet could be there for a long time.
Also, don’t expect HBO Max to be the home of “Harry Potter”. NBCUniversal licensed “Harry Potter” from the studio through 2025 for use on broadcast and cable so it won’t be locked into the service exclusively for quite a few years yet.
With HBO Max costing around $16-17 a month and including everything that is in HBO Now/HBO Go which costs $15 a month at present, analysts expect at least half of HBO’s 38 million domestic customers to pay the extra $1-2 a month to upgrade.
HBO Max launches Spring 2020, coming behind Disney+ in November this year but around the same time as Apple TV+ and Quibi both launching early 2020 and way ahead of NBCUniversal’s service which isn’t expected until 2021.