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WarnerMedia CEO: HBO Max aims to appeal to all household members

AT&T Inc.'s upcoming HBO Max streaming service will compete with Disney+ and other offerings by serving up something for everyone in a household, said COO John Stankey.

Stankey, who is also CEO of the WarnerMedia entertainment business, told investors at a Dec. 10 industry conference that HBO Max represents a compelling value at $14.99 per month for both new customers and HBO's base of 33 million subscribers. The new service will offer twice the amount of content currently available from WarnerMedia's premium HBO network.

Comparing HBO Max to The Walt Disney Co.'s new Disney+ service, which launched at $6.99 per month, Stankey said the Disney platform offered less total content and appealed mostly to children, versus HBO Max's wider audience targets.

"There's some stuff [on Disney+] that's interesting to adults, and there's some stuff that's probably interesting to your 20-something and 30-something-year-old members of your family, but it's not all that deep in that regard," he said.

HBO Max will premiere with about 10,000 hours of content centered on HBO, as well as fare from Turner's cable network portfolio, plus a slate of acquired programming and titles from the extensive Warner Bros libraries. There are 31 HBO Max original series scheduled for 2020 and 38 new and returning series from HBO. Company projections call for HBO Max to count some 50 million U.S. subscribers by 2025, with the service targeting another 25 million to 40 million international customers.

Discussions are underway with traditional distributors about replacing HBO with the new product, Stankey said. Traditional affiliates will find the financial structure similar to what they experienced with HBO, he said. Warner Media will provide its distribution partners data through its Xandr advertising and analytics unit.

Warner Media is supporting HBO Max with a vast amount of in-house content, and AT&T fourth-quarter financials will reflect lost licensing revenue as a result. However, Stankey emphasized the company is not out of the licensing business. He noted that its Warner Bros. studio will remain independent.

As the streaming wars heat up, Stankey thinks consumers will opt for more than one service. "I don't think it's a zero-sum game," he said. "You would be hard-pressed to suggest that Disney+ is a replacement service for Netflix. You would be hard-pressed to say Disney+ is a replacement service for [HBO] Max. They are two different services, and they are addressing different market segments."