WarnerMedia’s John Stankey on Disney+ Hot Start: ‘How Many of Those 10 Million Customers Are There In 6 Months?’

“[Disney] did a good job, good for them. They’re off to a good start,” Stankey says about Disney+ launch

WarnerMedia chief John Stankey complimented Disney’s streaming debut on Monday — but said it’s just as important for streaming services to keep viewers from canceling their subscriptions as it is for companies to get off to a hot start. “The bigger trick here for most of these streaming services is how many of those 10 million customers are there in 6 months?” Stankey said, while talking with Vox’s Peter Kafka at the Code Media conference in Hollywood. Stankey, of course, was alluding to the launch of Disney+ last week with 10 million subscribers signing up in the first 24 hours. “Managing churn,” Stankey said, will be critical for Disney and other new streaming services. “[Disney] did a good job, good for them. They’re off to a good start,” Stankey added. “Obviously, we start with a little different position with a different product, and we’d like to see as many HBO customers migrate as possible.” WarnerMedia is set for a spring launch of HBO Max, its new streaming service, at a $15 monthly subscription rate. HBO Max will feature programming centered around HBO, Warner Bros, New Line, DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth and Looney Tunes. These include rights to classic sitcoms like “Friends,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” — which had previously not been available on any streaming service — as well as Freeform’s “Pretty Little Liars.” Stankey mentioned, multiple times, that WarnerMedia is focused on “migrating” its current HBO Now and HBO Go customers toward HBO Max. He said the pitch should be easy, considering HBO Max’s $15 price tag is the same as its current streaming options — and will offer twice as much content. WarnerMedia also plans on launching an ad-supported version of HBO Max in 2021, the company shared at its investor conference last month. When WarnerMedia debuts next year, it’ll be chasing Netflix, which surpassed more than 155 million global subscribers during Q3. Aside from Netflix and Disney, Apple also recently debuted its own streaming service, Apple TV+, and NBCUniversal is set to unveil its service next year. Tim Baysinger contributed to this report.