AT&T is not a stranger to streaming services, as it already has a couple of different direct options, but it plans on launching yet another option in 2019.
We heard about AT&T’s plans back in October, this coming directly from WarnerMedia. The service will launch sometime in the fourth quarter of next year, but there isn’t much known about what’s coming down the pipe. However, now there is a bit more to work with, as is reported on Friday by TechCrunch.
AT&T recently hosted an analyst presentation, where it outlined how it may drop its stake in Hulu altogether and focus primarily on its own efforts moving forward. Right now, AT&T has a 10 percent stake in Hulu, thanks to WarnerMedia, but that may be getting tossed out in favor of its own streaming options. That includes the new WarnerMedia streaming option, which had a few more details ironed out during the presentation.
There will be three tiers, or packages, that customers will be able to choose from. The first of which, the “Entry Service”, will focus on being a “movie-focused” effort. The “Premium Service” will include “blockbuster movies” and “premium and popular original programming”. The “Bundle Service” will offer up everything that the previous two tiers have, but also include an “extensive library of WarnerMedia and licensed content”, which will include classics, kid-friendly content, and more.
It sounds like that fourth quarter launch in 2019 isn’t going to be a broad launch, either, but AT&T will rollout the streaming service in a beta form at that time. Third-party partnerships are planned in the future as well, but no details were provided in that department just yet:
“The service will launch into beta in Q4 2019, AT&T said, and will complement WarnerMedia’s existing business. It will also work across devices, and will expand over time to include third-party content through partnerships.”
What is certainly interesting, too, is WarnerMedia’s CEO, John Stankey, basically outlining how current streaming services, like Netflix, are going to see their current libraries shrink quite a bit as these companies stop renewing licensing deals. For instance, WarnerMedia already plans on not renewing its own licensed streaming deals with rival platforms.
“…we’re going to see a pretty substantial structural shift that’s going to occur…some of the incumbents in that are in that space today should expect that their libraries are going to get a lot thinner,” he said.
“75 to 80 percent of their total viewing tonnage is sitting on a lot of that licensed content. So their pressure is they’ve got to make this pivot over the next 18 to 24 months to get people off of viewing the licensed content that maybe sits in our library or sits in a Disney/Fox library, and get it onto their own,” Stankey added.”
Netflix is already facing this scenario with Disney, thanks to that service launching Disney+ in the near future. The fact that WarnerMedia is moving in that same direction is definitely going to keep reducing Netflix’s library, along with other rival platforms, in a major way.