AT&T Inc.’s WarnerMedia has abandoned its plan for a three-tiered streaming service and instead will likely package HBO, sister channel Cinemax and the vast library of Warner Bros. TV shows and movies into one offering at a price of between $16 and $17 a month, according to people familiar with the matter.
The subscription service will debut in “beta” form later this year, the people said and is expected to be fully up and running as early as next March, according to one of them.
WarnerMedia is also considering rolling out an ad-supported version of the streaming service—at a cheaper price—later in 2020, they said. It is unclear what the content makeup of that version would be.
Further down the road, WarnerMedia could add an additional premium option for people to watch live events or sports, one of the people said.
A price in the $16- to $17-a-month range would be a bold move, given all the programming WarnerMedia is offering. The stand-alone HBO Now streaming service sells for $14.99 a month, while Cinemax, for example, can cost as much as $12.99 a month for cable customers.
AT&T’s bet on a streaming service comes as the pay-TV giant it owns, DirecTV, has been losing TV subscribers at a fast clip as consumers cut the cord in favor of streaming services. AT&T in the first quarter lost 544,000 premium TV subscribers, which includes DirecTV satellite subscriptions and fiber optic packages from AT&T’s U-verse. It also lost 83,000 subscribers of DirecTV Now, its online cablelike service.
MacDailyNews Take: That could be an intriguing price give that it includes a huge library plus HBO and CineMax which, separately, cost $28 total.