TBS/TNT President Kevin Reilly appeared at the Television Critics Association presentation this week and has offered the most detailed plans thus far for WarnerMedia’s proposed streaming service which he’ll be heading up.
Launch wise a beta version of the service is expected to be ready by the fourth quarter of this year. That version will not have original programming, which doesn’t arrive until 2020 with the full service. Programming will cover a full range of ages – kids, teens, family audiences and adult viewing.
The initial launch will showcase the library of Warner media including the libraries of Warner Bros. studios, New Line Cinema, HBO, The CW, TNT, TBS, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Looney Tunes, and Hanna Barbara.
No pricing has yet been set but tiered pricing is possible and from the sounds of it there definitely won’t be a ‘free with ads’ version like NBCUniversal is doing. HBO will remain available as a standalone for now, meaning HBO Now isn’t going anywhere. However it will also be offered as an add-on when you sign up for the service and if you get both, the two can be combined into a single user experience. Reilly says:
“They will run separately. HBO will be offered as a standalone. Those are the customer base we will begin speaking to and offering pricing. They can buy the service standalone. We’re required to offer it that way. On top of it we will begin speaking to those consumers and saying, ‘Here’s something else you may want to have.’
When they’re offered together it will be a seamless consumer experience. You won’t have to toggle back and forth. The way you get it on your feed or streaming will be a seamless integrated experience.”
Reilly says you can expect that the crown jewels of Warner will ultimately end up on the new service and while they’re not making them exclusives just yet – it’s definitely in the cards. Meaning you can expect “Friends” to hang around on Netflix for not much longer.
Reilly also indicated DC Universe original series like “Titans” and “Doom Patrol” will be on the service and they’re working out the details of that right now – in any case a bunch of DC content is expected to reside there including The CW’s various DC series currently on Netflix.
He adds that the plan is to offer a “more differentiated, curated SVOD brand” rather than be a massive catch-all ala Netflix. However he also says: “We are building a much broader service than what I understand the Disney+ product to be.”
The plan is also to bring the Filmstruck fanbase into the fold with Warner Archive and TCM titles, though they won’t be the focus at launch.