As if we didn’t already have too many options to choose from, WarnerMedia is tossing another streaming service into the mix. The service will be called ‘HBO Max,’ and it will be a direct competitor to Netflix. The service itself won’t launch until 2020, but details are slowly starting to leak out about it. If you are one who has already cut the cord, get ready…Things are about to get complicated.
We lived in a pretty golden age of streaming almost one year ago. An age in which you could access your favorite shows across any given choice of streaming services without fail. Now, everyone has exclusivity claims and is muddying the waters for cord-cutters everywhere. For example, WarnerMedia practically didn’t exist last year, so you could watch a show like Friends virtually anywhere. Some services would allow you to watch episodes with a subscription, while others would charge a per episode fee. We’re hearing that once Netflix loses its streaming rights to Friends, HBO Max will be the ONLY place that you’ll be able to watch it going forward. Not. Cool.
WarnerMedia isn’t the only content provider to pull their shows and movies from services either. The problem here, is that once one company does it, everyone else follows suit, and consumers get stuck with the bill. Both Disney and NBCUniversal have taken similar steps in hopes of luring more subscribers over to their services. WarnerMedia sits in an advantageous position as they own the rights to channels like TNT, TBS, TruTV, CNN, Cartoon Network, Warner Bros, and more. What will essentially happen is the big dogs will continue to flourish while the smaller services will be unable to keep up with the content wars, getting lost in the shuffle and eventually dying out.
While it’s too early to start eulogizing any service, one thing is clear. The days of moderately priced streaming services are over. Welcome to the real Pay Per View age.