What is happening with AT&T’s Warner Media streaming service? Recently Warner Media announced that it will not go with a confusing 3 tiered pricing model for its new service as well as saying that the service will likely have ad supported and non ad-supported versions. It is even possible that the ad-supported version will feature more content than the service without ads. But there is a constant narrative around the reporting concerning the service that is being seen but not understood. AT&T is also talking about making its new service free to HBO subscribers.
If AT&T is not careful it is set to completely muddle all of its services. For instance, we keep hearing that its new service will be heavy on HBO library content. But there is already an independent app that features HBO content. HBO Now. Even more, there is already an app for HBO TV channel customers that gives them access to HBO content. It is HBO Go. The talk has been that HBO TV Channel subscribers may even get access to the new Warner app app for free. And let’s not forget that HBO subscribers already get access to HBO Go, which is a TV everywhere app.
So what would be the difference between a new Warner Media app and having HBO? The new service is also set to include Turner content, classic movies and TV shows from the Turner networks.
The new service raises multiple questions
- If the service includes HBO content will it replicate what is found on HBO Now or HBO Go?
- Will it be different than having the HBO channel on a traditional Pay TV package?
- Will it only include series that are wrapped up or will it include new episodes of current series?
- Does AT&T plan to maintain one app that only has HBO content and then offer another that has all of the same content that is found on HBO while opening up its other properties?
- Does it plan to have a different price for both? Does it plan to bundle them?
How it answers those questions will have a lot to do with how consumers react to the new service. But what we wonder even more, is if AT&T even wants to keep HBO branded apps out there in general. To prevent tons of confusion in the marketplace around its products AT&T may instead fold HBO Now customers into its new service and add the other content on top of it all. It could keep the HBO name and call it HBO Warner, or it could give it a new name entirely. This would be a risky move because the reactionary and terribly uninformed public might see this as HBO Now being shut down.
But keeping multiple services going while launching multiple services on top of them begins to rev up images of plate spinners of old. AT&T already struggles mightily helping customers understand the difference between U-Verse, DirecTV and DirecTV Now. All three are TV services and one of them is an internet delivered app. Do you know which one is which? AT&T will want to avoid this kind of confusion when it finally launches the TV product that it had in mind when it merged so many properties. Should it simplify things with subtraction or keep making things more complicated and convoluted?
How it moves forward will have a lot to do with how the company grows or declines. Disney seems to have a very good idea as to how it will work with multiple properties. AT&T would be smart to emulate its approach.