AT&T plans to launch streaming service in late 2019

Lewis Collier
October 11, 2018

WarnerMedia, the corporate umbrella for HBO, Warner Bros., and the Turner family of cable channels, is reportedly planning to launch its own subscription-based streaming service next year in a bid to directly challenge Disney, Netflix, Amazon, and other entrants in the video on-demand space.

The move comes as rival media giant Disney is preparing to launch its own streaming service for general content following the debut of its ESPN sports service. Both of these giant companies are aiming to compete with Netflix, who is now the king when it comes to the streaming game.

AT&T plans to finance the new service through "incremental efficiencies" at WarnerMedia, which includes consolidating resources from "sub-scale" direct to consumer services, the company said in an SEC regulatory filing on Wednesday. "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".

According to the filing, the service will "complement" the company's existing business and help to "expand" its reach by "offering a new choice for entertainment with the WarnerMedia collection" of films, television series, documentaries and animation.

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The announcement of the service delivers on a promise AT&T made in June after shareholders approved the telecom company's $85 billion purchase of Time Warner in order to make more money selling products directly to consumers rather than just go through middlemen such as cable companies. Most notably, there is HBO Now, which goes for $15 a month and currently has more than 5 million subscribers.

Going this route is awfully popular these days, as other services like DC Universe, CBS All Access, Disney's Streaming Service, and now WarnerMedia aim to compete with services like Netflix and Hulu while also taking advantage of their in-house IP. There's also FilmStruck, which is their streaming service geared toward film buffs.

It's not known whether the new service would feature original programming, but there's certainly an extensive back catalog of franchises WarnerMedia can call upon if new content is, in fact, part of the plan.

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