HBO Max Sets May 2020 Launch, Will Roll Out Episodes Weekly

WarnerMedia streaming service will add an ad-supported option in 2021, expects to have 90 million global subscribers by 2025

HBO Max logo - black

HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s upcoming streaming service, will debut in the U.S. in May 2020, Chairman Bob Greenblatt shared at the company’s media event in Burbank, California on Tuesday.

The service, unlike Netflix, will not release new seasons of its shows all at once. Instead, it’ll continue releasing episodes on a weekly basis, as HBO currently does, company executives said on Tuesday.

HBO Max is expected to reach 75 million to 90 million global subscribers by the year 2025, WarnerMedia chief John Stankey said. Stankey added the service will include an ad-supported streaming option by 2021.

“Just like cable introduced the rise of niche networks to dramatically grow audience, general entertainment streaming is the next great opportunity to aggregate and grow audience,” Stankey said during his introductory remarks.

The service, which will launch with about 10,000 hours worth of content, will boost parent company AT&T’s lagging video business and help other sectors of the company as well, according to Stankey. (AT&T on Monday reported it lost nearly 1.2 million TV customers during Q3.) And as previously reported, HBO Max will be free to current HBO subscribers — who pay about $15 per month for its streaming offer — and AT&T customers.

“In the era of Amazon, Apple, Google and Netflix, scale is no longer defined by distribution to a quarter of U.S. consumers. It’s a global game,” Stankey continued. “HBO Max will have a positive and immediate impact on the stickiness of our wireless and broadband offerings.”

Tuesday’s announcement comes as Disney and Apple are both preparing to launch their new streaming services in November. Netflix, meanwhile, recently reported its closing in on 160 million global subscribers, giving it a robust lead on several of the new streaming services looking to lure away some of its viewers.

HBO Max will offer access to HBO programming, as well as several WarnerMedia channels like TNT and TBS, when it launches next spring. The service will also include new seasons of “Sesame Street” and the entire “Friends” catalog, after prying it back from Netflix in late 2018.

WarnerMedia executives are expected to share HBO Max’s price later in the event.