If you weren’t already cowing before the towering, flame-spewing behemoth that is WarnerMedia, the upcoming HBO Max streamer will serve as a carnival barker beckoning you into its consuming shadow. Speaking to Reuters, AT&T potentate John Stankey declared that HBO subscribers who are already AT&T customers—that includes via DirecTV, AT&T TV Now, or whatever other operation they’re plugged into—will receive free access to HBO Max for an unspecified amount of time.
While it’s still unclear just what HBO Go and HBO Now will look like once HBO Max launches—Christ, this is exhausting—but we know it will come with every episode of Friends, Sesame Street, Doctor Who, Big Bang Theory, and a whole slew of reboots, prequels, sequels, and revivals. Among them? Adventure Time specials, a new riff on Grease, an animated Gremlins prequel, a Practical Magic prequel, more Boondocks, a Gossip Girl reboot, and four shows from Ellen DeGeneres. And that’s not all: Under WarnerMedia’s umbrella is Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, CNN, The CW, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, and Looney Tunes. Stankey, pounding his metal breastplate, cries from the lion’s den: “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!”
AT&T isn’t the only conglomerate using its budding streamer to win customers. Apple is giving you a year of free Apple TV+ if you buy one of the devices it uses to spy on you, such as an iPhone. Disney, meanwhile, will offer 12 free months of Disney+ to Verizon wireless customers on unlimited plans. Consume, and ye shall be rewarded with more consumption. The content wars are lit, y’all.
HBO Max will debut sometime in the spring of next year, and some are saying it will carry a $15/month price point, which is a lot more than its competitors. But, ya know, Friends. Reuters reports, however, that an ad-supported version of the streamer will launch in 2021 at a lower cost, and following that will begin adding live programming.
Expect more details next week, when WarnerMedia will gather the peasants to elaborate even further upon how it will entertain into slack-jawed monetization machines.