Netflix. Amazon Prime. YouTube TV. Hulu. HBO Now. Disney Play. DC Universe. And now, Warner Bros.? Well of course you knew that the studio that brought us The Lego Movie, Harry Potter, and The Lord of the Rings wasn’t going to be content with simply going to the other guys to stream their catalog. So they’re launching their own. Right along side the DC Universe and HBO Now. But my question now is … when will we have one too many streaming services?
“This is another benefit of the AT&T/Time Warner merger, and we are committed to launching a compelling and competitive product that will serve as a complement to our existing businesses and help us to expand our reach by offering a new choice for entertainment with the WarnerMedia collection of films, television series, libraries, documentaries and animation loved by consumers around the world. We expect to create such a compelling product that it will help distributors increase consumer penetration of their current packages and help us successfully reach more customers.” – John Stankey, CEO WarnerMedia
The plan is that the Warner Media streaming service will go up head to head with the Disney Play Streaming service when it launches in 2019. So we’ll end up with a no holds barred grudge match between Star Wars and Harry Potter for streaming supremacy. The advantage is Disney’s at the moment, since the Mouse House is already in production on their first original Star Wars series The Mandalorian, and has plans for Marvel miniseries centered around Loki and Scarlet Witch.
AT&T, which is now the parent company of Warner Bros., also has HBO Now, and the DC Universe, which has the live action Titans coming next year as well. So with HBO Now and the DCU, do we really need a third streaming service for the Warner Bros. Catalog? I guess so. Lego Movies won’t stream themselves, after all. However, with a new service comes the need to add original programming. So maybe we’ll finally get a cool series based on the Aurors in the Harry Potter Universe, or the Order of the Phoenix before Harry, Ron and Hermione. I suppose, ultimately that’s up to JK Rowling. So who knows?
Or maybe this would be a great opportunity to reboot the Matrix, which started off with an incredible cinematic epic, only to peter out by the third, sad sequel. But the service is going to need fresh content. But I wouldn’t hold my breath on seeing any Tolkien adventures, since Amazon is making the series.
But here’s the thing. At some point, there’s going to be one too many streaming services for cord cutters to absorb. If you do the math, cancelling your cable/satellite prescription because it’s gotten too expensive isn’t going to save you anything, if you’re paying more for your internet access, plus monthly subscriptions to watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Now, Hulu, etc. In fact, studies are starting to show that cord cutters not only save nothing at all, but that they are spending more. But they are doing so out of choice, not because they are stuck with must carry stations that they will never watch.
At least Apple is being clever, planning to offer their original streaming content for free on Apple Devices, according to 9to5 Mac. So whether you own an Apple TV, iPhone or iPad. Very clever that Cupertino is viewing their content as a loss leader in order to sell more hardware. Yeah sure, they’ve only got All About the Apps, and Carpool Karaoke at the moment, but things will heat up with Ronald D. Moore’s For All Mankind, a sci-fi series that poses the question, what if the space race never ended?
At the end of the day, the ala carte nature of video on demand is going to cost as every service is going to have something you want to watch. At the very least, AT&T should merge the DC and Warner services, like Disney did after originally hinting at three separate channels.
Either way, cord cutters are going to have to make choices, or it’s going to get very expensive.
Hat Tip – CBR