WarnerMedia, the company formed by the recent merging of AT&T and Time Warner, has banked a lot on HBO Max as they try to burrow their way into the streaming wars, which is dominated by subscription services and to a lesser extent ad-based free streaming (or sometimes ad-based but still subscription required services…you still pay AND sit through ads?). Apparently that isn’t going well for them as they’ve opted to take their Warner Brothers movies and simultaneously release them on HBO Max and in theaters. Except theaters aren’t wasting their time figuring it will lead to empty theaters (the ones still open in 2020 without the local shutdowns or the chain’s parent company not even bothering and making their franchises close whether they want/need to or not) that could be used on movies only available in movie theaters.
The folks at Midnight’s Edge discussed these events as part of a recent livestream. (Note: swearing abounds.) They discuss why WarnerMedia would make this move, why HBO Max is doing the least well of the new generation of streaming services despite the HBO brand, and if it will even help them gain a decent spot in the streaming wars.
Here’s a link to the full discussion stream to find out what else they talked about.
I did check for the latest Disney+ news and while I didn’t see a report of Black Widow going over there I did notice they’re ramping up Marvel-related series as well as spinning off The Mandalorian as the only thing under the Star Wars brand doing well for them. Outside of a Chip And Dale’s Rescue Rangers movie that may or may not be live-action (I can only imagine how they’ll pull that off) and some stuff involving Disney Princesses it seems Disney+ is banking on everything except Disney, which is rather sad.
Meanwhile WarnerMedia has access to everything from Warner Brothers and libraries they bought, right? Well, maybe there’s some rights issues, the same thing Peacock ran into when some of their movies were tied up in contracts with Netflix or Amazon Prime. It makes me wonder if any of these new services are really thinking about how to do this. CBS All Access hasn’t had nearly the success they wanted and Quibi up and died as you saw in the daily post. Maybe what these new services need to do is look at the entire landscape and come up with a model that works rather than rush through something just to have a spot. Given the trend not only in streaming but in how they approach franchises and shared universes that doesn’t seem to likely. It’s all marketing to them but without any thought or care given to your product you’re going to die on the virtual altar. HBO might have been better off just doing what they were doing than rushing through a poorly thought out streaming alternative. Pulling HBO and Cinemax’s separate services and cable/satellite offerings into one big service probably should have been the way to go. That’s what happens when greed drowns out actual smart business I guess.