In a move that could either be the beginning of the end of regular cable, or an incredibly stupid plan, Warner Media has announced plans for their own streaming service.
Warner Media CEO John Stankey announced today that the group which was born out AT&T’s buy out of Time Warner, will be launching a streaming service in the fourth quarter of 2019. Their hope is to compete with Netflix, Amazon and Disney’s upcoming streaming service. The problem is Warner Media is part of a complicated structure that is already home to multiple streaming sites/businesses. The Warner/AT&T family features HBO and it’s HBO Now service, DC and the DC Universe service, Boomerang which has older animated cartoons, and FilmStruck which features classic and indie films. If Warner is planning to release another streaming service they may need to combine services to see overall success.
It’s clear that Warner is trying to directly battle Disney here, but the problem is Disney doesn’t have multiple streaming services. This would be like Disney saying, “we have a Marvel service, a Star Wars service, and a Disney Pictures service, and now we’re doing a streaming service with the Fox properties we bought.” Very few people are going to sign up for ALL of those. But in creating one service that covers everything they’ll get everyone.
There is a chance that Warner/AT&T finds success here, and if they do there’s a good chance the rest of the big studios will follow suit. If that happens then there’s a good chance that we’ll near the end of regular cable service. It’s much easier for studios to cut the middle man out and deliver content straight to customers via streaming sites. No issues with ads and restrictions on content within media provided. Your shows and characters can do anything, eat anything, wear anything, say anything, without worrying about getting ads pulled and losing money or the FCC going after you. If someone has an issue with something you put out, you can say sorry and put out more content that “amends it.” (re: 13 Reasons Why/Beyond the Reasons)
We’ll see how things work out with the service, and what all it includes over the next year. Be sure to keep following Poor Man’s Spoiler for all the updates on the upcoming streaming service.