HBO has long used Sunday nights as its original programming showcase but now the premium network is expanding to Monday nights as its lineup grows to keep pace with Amazon, Netflix and others.
According to the New York Times, HBO will begin airing original scripted shows on Monday nights later this year. The network will start with limited series “Chernobyl” and continue on Mondays throughout the year with “The Deuce,” a limited series about Catherine the Great and a series based on Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials books.
HBO is expanding its original content lineup and expects to have 150 hours of original scripted content in 2019, up 50% over 2018’s total, according to the report. Casey Bloys, president of programming at HBO, said the total will likely increase again in 2020.
The shift in strategy for HBO comes as a time when a dwindling amount of the channel’s original programming viewership comes on Sunday nights. More HBO consumers are now watching original programming later on the channel’s digital platforms HBO Go and HBO Now.
Increasing the amount of original programming on HBO is an important strategy for AT&T, which recently completed its acquisition of Time Warner and renamed the business segment WarnerMedia.
Later this year, WarnerMedia will launch a direct-to-consumer streaming video service that will compete against Disney’s upcoming DTC product as well as established market players like Amazon, Hulu and Netflix.
WarnerMedia’s DTC service will feature three distinct tiers of service. An entry-level product will focus on movies, a premium service with original programming and “blockbuster movies,” and a third service that bundles content from the first two plus an extensive library of WarnerMedia and licensed content.
AT&T is counting on WarnerMedia’s library of content, including HBO’s original series, to create a compelling streaming service, albeit one that won’t match Netflix for sheer volume.
“We’re not going to have to spend another $11 billion to rival Netflix. We think we have enough IP and enough capability that we can put a product together that will be very attractive,” said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson during an investor conference in December.