Now that WarnerMedia has released detailed information about its standalone broadcaster HBO Max, a demand-on-demand video-on-demand broadcaster, launched in the spring of 2020, the arsenal of each front of the next battle for streaming service begins. to appear.
The library promised by HBO Max suggests a serious offense including the exclusive licenses of the 10 seasons of "Friends" (probably the original versions, not subscribed) and the list of CW shows. This initially seems to be a blow to Netflix, the dominant force in continuous wars.
However, looking more closely at the details of the existing licensing agreements, the situation is more nuanced.
"Friends" is still available on Netflix internationally – where growth is strongest
In addition to the loss of "Friends" by HBO Max in early 2020, Netflix also loses "The Office" in favor of NBCUniversal's next streaming service at the end of 2020. Third party ratings indicate that both series are the more popular. on the streaming platform, which does not like much to part with its data.
However, Netflix may still, in particular, exercise the power of "Friends" on its service in certain international territories outside the United States.
Although "Friends" stopped broadcasting 15 years ago, the program remains extremely popular in the United States and abroad. If the series is indeed the second most watched show on Netflix, as Nielsen says, this is a victory for the streamer, whose potential for growth in the number of subscribers abroad is a valuable asset given the slowdown earnings in the United States.
According to Michael Olson, Piper Jaffray's analyst, Neflix's third-quarter content is solid. According to his estimates, his international subscribers could be more numerous than the national subcontractors, between 129 and 67 million next year.
WarnerMedia's international plans for HBO Max, which is a domestic service, are not yet clear. The company is organizing an event in the fall where it will announce more details about the service.
HBO Max will not be able to participate in all CW shows yet
HBO Max is expected to be the exclusive venue for Warner Bros.'s "Batwoman" and "Katy Keene" series, highlighting previous seasons in the 30-day series prior to the CW premiere of the season. . This means that the first season of "Batwoman", which will begin in October, will only be available on HBO Max in September 2020.
But Netflix will continue to introduce new seasons of CW programming that began during the 2018-19 television season, not to mention hosting them for several years after their initial release, in accordance with the joint production agreement reached this year. . For example, viewers can expect "Supernatural", which airs its last season this fall, to remain on Netflix a few years after the broadcast of the series finale.
And that means that programs that do not yet have a predictable endpoint, like "Riverdale," "Flash," and "Dynasty," could be on Netflix for many, many years.
"Nancy Drew", a production produced by CBS TV Studios and broadcast on CBS TV Studios, will not be unveiled after its broadcast on the CW.
Accio Harry Potter Movie Series
Finally, Rich Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG, said the HBO Max Mega Movie video was missing from Warner Bros.'s mega-film franchise.
"Not only have media companies all waited far too long before engaging in (direct) consumer commerce … their long-term licensing decisions have made it difficult to switch to DTC technology," he said. he wrote Wednesday.
But HBO Max, it's only a dollar or two more than HBO
There are still a lot of potential benefits for HBO Max, which prides itself on being rich in content. According to the Wall Street Journal, the streamer would cost between $ 16 and $ 17 a month. This is significantly higher than the Disney Plus advertised price and the current Netflix price, even after the last subscription price increase.
But compared to the $ 15 price only from HBO, it's starting to look like a very good deal – and Greenfield expects at least half of HBO's customers to upgrade.
"When we hear that HBO Max is a crazy strategy at $ 16-17 / month against Disney at $ 6.99 / month or Netflix at $ 12.99, it's essential to remember that HBO has increased its sub-base from $ 30 million to $ 38 million over the last four years, at $ 15 per month, "said Greenfield in his research note. "We believe that at least 50% of their subscribers will likely switch to HBO Max for an additional $ 1 to $ 2 per month, which involves nearly 19 million subscribers, or about $ 20 million. 39; subscribers. "
However, he fears that the $ 240 million expected income will not offset the huge investment that WarnerMedia is likely to invest in the streamer.
With the arrival of Disney Plus in November, the launch of Quibi in April 2020 and the NBCUniversal service by 2021, competition will be great for HBO Max.