May 26, 2020 - Economy

HBO Max to become third major streaming service to launch during pandemic

Data: Axios research; Chart: Axios Visuals

HBO Max is set to launch this Wednesday, making it the third and final major streaming service to launch during the pandemic. (Quibi launched April 6th and NBCU's Peacock launched April 15th.)

Why it matters: At $14.99 monthly, it's the most expensive offering within its competitive set. But it also launches with a slew of exclusive fan favorites, ranging from "Friends" and "The Big Bang Theory" to "Game of Thrones."

Yes, but: With existing name recognition, it should be easier for consumers to get excited about the new service, but data from Morning Consult shows that with so many options out there already, consumers aren't totally aware that their favorite shows will be included in the package.

Between the lines: The test for AT&T is how successfully it can move its current HBO subscribers from its old apps.

  • AT&T already has millions of customers that subscribe to its current streaming app, HBO Now. Millions more get access to HBO content on a different app called HBO Go with their HBO cable subscriptions.
  • AT&T will automatically upgrade existing HBO Now subscribers to become HBO Max subscribers for the same price when the service launches.
  • HBO Max gives consumers access all of AT&T's content, which includes HBO as well as content from its other cable networks like TNT and TBS. It also includes some original series and movie content from Warner Bros.

What's next: Executives have said that it hopes to reach 50 million paid subscribers by 2025.

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