Streaming service HBO Max to launch on May 27
AT&T Inc's WarnerMedia said on Tuesday it's streaming service, HBO Max, will launch on May 27, featuring original shows like "Love Life", "Legendary" and new episodes of the popular "Looney Tunes Cartoons".
The service is expected to reach 75 million to 90 million global subscribers by 2025, with about 50 million of these coming from the United States, the company said earlier.
HBO Max is set to compete with Walt Disney Co's Disney+, which crossed 50 million paid users globally earlier this month.
Rival Netflix Inc is set to report its first- quarter earnings later on Tuesday after market close.
Popular sitcoms like "Friends" and "The Big Bang Theory" will be available on launch, alongside HBO originals like "Westworld", "Big Little Lies" and "Game of Thrones".
Audiences for the big four U.S. television networks - ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC - have been declining in recent years due to fierce competition from streaming, esports and social media.
U.S. movie theaters and Broadway theaters have been shut down for almost two weeks, and multiple U.S. states have ordered the closure of restaurants, bars, theme parks and concert venues in a bid to contain the coronavirus epidemic. There are now more than 60,000 cases in the United States and more than 880 deaths.
Streaming service Netflix Inc was also expected to be a major beneficiary of the stay at home directives. Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos told CNN on Sunday that viewing was up but gave no details. Netflix on Wednesday declined to comment on recent viewership.
However multiple shows on traditional television, including "The Good Doctor" on ABC, "The Masked Singer" on Fox and "Survivor" on CBS are also seeing a surge in viewers, according to ratings data.
Data analytics company Nielsen said in a report last week that Americans are expected to watch as much as 60% more television across all platforms as increasingly restrictive shutdowns are implemented across the United States.
The increases are not just for escapist fare. Sunday's topical news show "60 Minutes" reached 10.9 million viewers, its largest audience since December 2019, CBS said.
Cable channel HBO is seeing increases for shows like sci-fi series "Westworld" and for older fare like teen series "Euphoria."
Time spent on the HBO Now streaming service since March 14 was up over 40% from a month prior, while daily binge viewing increased 65% compared with the prior four-week period, according to WarnerMedia.Reuters