WarnerMedia — the combined forces of HBO, Turner, and Warner Bros. that AT&T recently acquired in its massive Time Warner deal — is planning on launching its own streaming service in the fourth quarter of 2019, as announced by WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey.
“Our service will start with HBO and the genre defining programming that viewers crave,” commented Stankey in an internal memo obtained by CNN. “On top of that we will package content from Turner and Warner Bros. with their deep brand connections,” making the service a sort of HBO-plus that would combine all of WarnerMedia’s content, like Harry Potter and the DC superhero films together into a single streaming bundle alongside HBO series like Game of Thrones or Westworld.
AT&T/WarnerMedia’s John Stankey statement on direct-to-consumer streaming service launching in Q4 2019: pic.twitter.com/B75YfLMyq3— Dylan Byers (@DylanByers) October 10, 2018
It’s a strategy that sounds a whole lot like what Disney is planning to do with its own streaming service, also scheduled to launch late next year — leverage its existing brands and series from across the various arms of the company into a single place, and sell it directly to consumers.
Like Disney, WarnerMedia isn’t going to suddenly wipe out all of its existing distribution deals in one shot — Stankey says that the company will be looking to balance existing deals with cable and satellite distributors alongside the new service, ideally giving WarnerMedia the best of both worlds.
WarnerMedia hasn’t announced a price or even a name for its service yet, but as major media companies continue to consolidate, it likely won’t be the last big company to start its own direct-to-consumer service as streaming, either.