By now we all know that streaming is big business and that the options open to consumers who wish to do so are getting greater all the time. Netflix has long been the king, but Hulu and Amazon began encroaching on that territory several years ago. Now we have Disney+, Apple TV+, and several other services coming up soon which already have some big properties / names attached. One of those newbies will be WarnerMedia's HBO Max, and those behind the service already believe they know how they can win out over Disney+.
Of course, Disney+ made an impressive bow almost a month ago. The site combines thousands of hours of entertainment from Marvel, Pixar, Disney animation and live action, Star Wars, National Geographic and original content like The Mandalorian, which has had everyone losing their minds over Baby Yoda. So, just how does WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey see HBO Max carving out a solid niche for itself when the service debuts in May? Here's what he had to say:
Disney+ is a good product. They’ve done a nice job. [But] its strength as a product to satisfy other members of the family — it’s not that deep. Max is.
OK, HBO Max, we see you working out where you fit! Really, from what John Stankey told the audience at the UBS Global TMT conference in New York (via Variety), the plan going forward is really pretty simple. While Disney+ has done a good job of making sure that its content can satisfy entire families when the whole gang sits down to watch something, HBO Max is looking to have more targeted content that will focus on making sub-groups within those families happy as well.
Stankey stressed that, while HBO Max is going to have kid-friendly entertainment options (like a series of Adventure Time specials, called Adventure Time: Distant Lands) older youth and young adult age groups are the real target. He noted that:
We’re making sure that there’s a good, stable offering for the late teens and twentysomething [subscribers].
And, from what we've seen of the service's upcoming non-Friends content, that seems to be true. The streamer is already working on a Gossip Girl reboot / revival that will pick up eight years after the original series and Grease: Rydell High will revisit the fictional school made famous in the classic musical.
There are also plans for Riverdale's Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to expand his creepy, young-and-sexy TV empire with a new Gothic horror show for HBO Max, The Shelley Society, which will see young author Mary Shelley and a band of adventurers (including two of her lovers) fight supernatural creatures. Two original shows are also coming which will feature characters from DC Comics in the form of Green Lantern and Strange Adventures, and both seem primed for older teens and young adults.
So, it would seem that John Stankey was right on point when he said that HBO Max was looking out for someone other than kids when those behind the service started to think about programming. Let's face it, not everyone who signs on for this new streamer will be there so they can watch Ross and Rachel's love story, watch Penny fall for nerdy Leonard or adventure around with The Doctor.
HBO Max will take its shot at becoming ruler of the streaming mountain when the service debuts in May 2020. To keep up with what you can catch on the small screen until then, be sure to check out our 2020 TV premiere guide, see what's available on Disney+ and take a look at what's new on Netflix soon.