A classic Chinese novel starts with the line, “The Empire long divided, must unite; long united; must divide.” This can be applied, technically, to the trend of TV and media watching today. Decades ago each studio presented their films separately, each show with its own network (barring syndication). With the rise of digital streaming multiple companies were able to stock their content together in a common platform like Netflix for wide viewing. In recent years however these studios and networks are again separating their productions into their own exclusive streaming services. HBO is also jumping on this bandwagon with a new offering in HBO Max.
According to The Verge, HBO Max will be the name of the network’s subscription streaming service that will carry their library of original films and series. It is being positioned as a true rival to established streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu, as well as the upcoming exclusive services by other companies like Disney+. As part of the larger WarnerMedia umbrella, HBO Max will also get some choice exclusive streaming rights for WM affiliated productions over the previous decades. This includes some very familiar and beloved shows that will soon not be viewed anywhere else.
In a press release from HBO, they called on the award-winning and viewer-popular exclusive programming content and “best-of-the-best” films and series in the massive WarnerMedia library. “Anchored with and inspired by the legacy of HBO’s excellence and award-winning storytelling, the new service will be ‘Maximized’ with an extensive collection of exclusive original programming (Max Originals) and the best-of-the-best from WarnerMedia’s enormous portfolio of beloved brands and libraries,” the statement went. Thus, prospective HBO Max subscribers will get access to not just HBO stuff but also content from Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TNT, Cinemax, New Line, The CW, and even online mainstays like Crunchyroll and Rooster Teeth.
To demonstrate the exclusivity power of this new streaming platform, HBO Max will pretty much be the only place to binge-watch episodes of iconic sitcom “Friends,” which came aboard Netflix in 2019 but will be pulled out this year, in time for the new service launch. Another old sitcom to find a home here is NBC’s “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (due to WB being its worldwide distributor). The CW programming such as “Arrow-verse” component series “Batwoman” and upcoming “Riverdale” spinoff “Katy Keene” will also be streaming on HBO Max.
Interested streaming consumers can expect HBO Max to launch next year in the spring, though they would have to decide if WarnerMedia-aligned content is the only things they want to watch now that every media company has their own service.
Image from Best in AU