AT&T plans for its upcoming streaming service, HBO Max, to eventually include a live TV element. During a call with investors today, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that the company intends to offer live sports as part of the service, potentially including NBA, MLB, and soccer matches, and it could also include a news element. Stephenson said that the company plans to reveal HBO Max at an investor presentation on October 29th before its planned release in 2020.
AT&T is pinning a lot of hope on HBO Max, as it again reported subscriber losses for its existing streaming service, DirecTV Now. This quarter, the service dropped another 168,000 subscribers. That’s down from the 267,000 net subscribers it lost in the first quarter of 2019. The company warned that the losses were due to continue throughout the year as the company phased out its existing promotional subscription pricing for the service.
AT&T isn’t the only company that’s struggling with streaming subscriber losses. Earlier this month, Netflix announced its first major loss of US subscribers, which was also the result of price increases for its customers. However, while Netflix is facing the loss of key shows from its catalog (partly as a result of — you guessed it — AT&T), AT&T will not have the same reliance on third-party content because it will own the studios, like HBO, that will be producing it.
In addition to the new streaming service, Stephenson also said that the company plans to launch a new “thin client product” called AT&T TV, which it is planning to trial in the third quarter of this year. It’s currently unclear exactly what form this service will take, but Stephenson indicated that it’s likely to be offered at a lower price to the company’s current DirecTV services.