WarnerMedia Announces Streaming Service Slated for 2019 Debut

CEO John Stankey says HBO will be the centerpiece of bundle

WarnerMedia is joining the streaming wars, with chief executive John Stankey announcing Wednesday at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit that the company plans on launching its own direct-to-consumer streaming service by the end of 2019.

Stankey said the standalone service will offer a bundle spearheaded by HBO — although fans will still be able to pay for HBO on its own if they want. A price for the service, expected to debut by the end of next year, wasn’t shared.

“This is another benefit of the AT&T/Time Warner merger, and we are committed to launching a compelling and competitive product that will serve as a complement to our existing businesses and help us to expand our reach by offering a new choice for entertainment with the WarnerMedia collection of films, television series, libraries, documentaries and animation loved by consumers around the world,” WarnerMedia said in an accompanying SEC filing.

Stankey had previously hinted the rebranded Time Warner was looking to launch its own streaming service. He said last month he didn’t “want to re-create Netflix,” but instead see WarnerMedia develop its own distinct streaming experience.  “I don’t believe the Netflix that we know today is likely to be the Netflix of three years from today,” he added.

WarnerMedia will not only face competition from established streamers like Hulu, Amazon Prime, and of course, Netflix; Disney will be launching its own service next year, and Apple is preparing to make a stronger content push.