WarnerMedia’s SVOD will be heavy on the HBO content

Game of Thrones
WarnerMedia's streaming service will have a second tier that makes HBO originals like "Game of Thrones" available to consumers. (HBO/WarnerMedia)

WarnerMedia’s upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming product will pull heavily from content currently populating HBO and its apps.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson spoke at a UBS investor conference and provided more details about WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service.

He said the first layer of the service will look a lot like the movie library available today on HBO. The second layer will include HBO’s scripted original series like “Game of Thrones.” Then the third layer will take advantage of the Warner Bros. IP library including movies and scripted series.

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He said series like “Friends” could potentially appear on the WarnerMedia platform since Warner Bros’ new distribution deal with Netflix is non-exclusive.

“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,” Stephenson said.

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WarnerMedia is not trying to create a direct-to-consumer product that rivals Netflix in terms of content volume. Stephenson noted how he had compared Netflix to Walmart before and that it was viewed as slightly derogatory, but he said that he didn’t intend it as criticism.

“When you’re looking for video content, regardless of what it is, people go to Netflix because it is an impressive warehouse of content,” Stephenson said. “That is not our ambition.”

That doesn’t mean AT&T won’t be increasing its investment in content. Stephenson said that early on that increased investment will be focused on HBO and filling out its content slate, but he said eventually AT&T will also invest more in third-party content.

Stephenson also said that when the WarnerMedia SVOD launches in late 2019, it will be only available in the U.S. But he said he hopes the platform will become available internationally as WarnerMedia sorts through some of the complicated global distribution deals that it currently has in place.

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