HBO Max: Everything We Learned From WarnerMedia’s Streaming Event

A new “Game of Thrones,” old episodes of “South Park,” how much it’ll cost and more

HBO Max logo

WarnerMedia unveiled its HBO Max streaming service in a presentation at the Warner Bros. lot on Tuesday, complete with information about when the service is coming, how much it will cost and what will be available to stream.

Much like the Apple TV+ and Disney+ events before it, Tuesday’s HBO Max event aimed to entice potential subscribers with a series of lightning-fast announcements about the forthcoming streaming service’s many offerings. From new shows by Greg Berlanti and Mindy Kaling to human recommendations to position the streamer as the anti-Netflix, here’s everything we learned about HBO Max on Tuesday:

When it will launch and how much it will cost.

The biggest questions coming into the event were the logistical ones.

Though WarnerMedia didn’t announce a specific launch date, the company did say the streaming service will debut in May 2020, for $14.99 per month. AT&T customers who already subscribe to HBO via their cable package will get the service for free, while non-HBO subscribers with AT&T will have access to bundles that reduce the monthly price.

Some new shows…

News of the original series in development for HBO Max has been steadily ramping up over the past few months, with titles like Kaley Cuoco’s “The Flight Attendant,” Anna Kendrick’s “Love Life” and the Ansel Elgort-led “Tokyo Vice” among the projects already underway. But on Tuesday, the company unveiled a few new projects, including shows from Elizabeth Banks, Issa Rae, Mindy Kaling and Greg Berlanti.

…and some old shows.

Having already won the 10 seasons of “Friends” away from Netflix, HBO Max claimed another victory in the battle for library content on Tuesday by announcing that it would have past seasons of “South Park” and “Rick & Morty” to stream upon the service’s launch next year.

Movies, too.

Like Apple and Disney, WarnerMedia’s streaming service will also offer original feature film titles, like the newly announced “Bobbie Sue,” starring “Jane the Virgin” alum Gina Rodriguez.

No binge-viewing.

Netflix changed the TV game by leaning into the TV binge culture and rolling out its original series full seasons at a time. One of the ways WarnerMedia positioned HBO Max as the anti-Netflix on Tuesday was by announcing that its original series would roll out on the platform on a weekly basis.

Recommended by Humans.

WarnerMedia executives also took shots at Netflix’s much-touted algorithm, mocking the paradox of choice and the not-insignificant amount of time Netflix viewers spend scrolling through menus looking for something to watch.

HBO Max will aim to combat the scroll by offering celebrity-selected recommendations — the sample demonstration was a video of Zac Efron explaining why he loves “The Exorcist” — and specially curated collections built around specific brands or titles.

HBO Now isn’t going anywhere.

Though the new service will capitalize on the HBO brand in name, the premium cable channel’s standalone streaming service isn’t being cannibalized just yet. Customers looking to subscribe to HBO’s library and nothing more will still have that option.

Which is good news for “Game of Thrones” fans.

When one door closes, etc. Just hours after HBO announced that it would not move forward with a “Game of Thrones” prequel starring Naomi Watts, it was announced during the WarnerMedia event that the network has given a full series order to a different “GOT” prequel, “House of the Dragons.” Set 300 years before the events of “Game of Thrones,” the show will tell the story of how the Targaryen family conquered Westeros. Among other details, Miguel Sapochnik, director of some of the parent show’s most acclaimed episodes, will serve as co-showrunner. Read more about it here.