By the end of 2019, AT&T plans to roll HBO, Turner, and Warner Bros. content into one big streaming service to battle the likes of Netflix. John Stankey, the CEO of AT&T’s WarnerMedia, confirmed the news after a memo detailing the company’s plans leaked to CNN’s Brian Stelter.
AT&T acquired Time Warner in June after winning a legal challenge from the U.S. Department of Justice, instantly turning the telecom into a major media conglomerate. Time Warner owns HBO, Warner Bros. studios, and Turner, which itself owns a slew of cable channels including CNN, TNT, and TBS.
While AT&T hasn’t discussed pricing or a name for this new service, Stankey said it will include HBO programming plus library content from Turner and Warner, such as the Harry Potter films and The Big Bang Theory. It will not include CNN’s news coverage, and Stankey’s memo mentioned the need to “complement our wholesale distribution.”
Essentially, AT&T will try to thread the needle of appealing to cord-cutters without angering its cable and satellite distribution partners. That’s exactly the challenge Disney is facing as it launches its own direct-to-consumer streaming plans, including ESPN+ and the Disney-branded service coming next year.