https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/att-ceo-warnermedia-taking-tv-shows-rivals-streaming-service-1210452AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson on Tuesday said WarnerMedia is prepared to take content back from rivals for its upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming service.
“The Warner Bros. library is an amazing library. It’s incredible.... It’s a TV production machine and will produce over 70 shows this year alone. Think about everything from Friends and Seinfeld and the Big Bang Theory. All of this TV production is owned by Warner Bros. and we will be bringing a lot of these media rights, licensing rights, back to ourselves to put on our own SVOD video product," Stephenson told the JP Morgan Technology, Media and Communications Conference in Boston.
AT&T in a statement confirmed the phone giant "plans to take back some owned-content previously licensed to others and instead make it available on the upcoming WarnerMedia SVOD service" anchored by premium content from HBO, Warner Bros. and Turner.
Netflix late last year announced that Warner Bros. TV-produced Friends would remain on the streaming platform through 2019. The new agreement for Friends gave AT&T-owned WarnerMedia the option in 2020 and beyond to also stream the popular series on its forthcoming Netflix rival, which Stephenson on Tuesday touted as a premium offering, filled with HBO and Warner Bros. content, as it goes head-to-head in competition with Netflix.
"I don't think people yet have an appreciation for what this product will bring to bear. It's a luxury brand in terms of content," Stephenson told the investors conference.
WarnerMedia's Netflix competitor is set to debut in the fourth quarter of 2019 and will feature three content tiers when the offering launches.
Stephenson also told the investor conference that the telecom giant's John Stankey-led WarnerMedia unit is investing heavily in new content for HBO as Game of Thrones nears its series end. "There's a lot of content stacked up. We have a lot of great content coming on line as Game of Thrones winds down," he insisted.
AT&T completed its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner last year and then changed the entertainment division's name to WarnerMedia, with its HBO, Turner and Warner Bros. divisions set to compete against Netflix amid cord-cutting and a turn by consumers to streaming services.
After the Time Warner deal, Stephenson said paying down debt remains a priority for the phone giant, in part through asset sales. AT&T's nearly 10 percent stake in Hulu was worth $1.43 billion when recently sold back to the streaming service, which now has Walt Disney as its majority owner.
"I'm getting more confident that we will overachieve that," Stephenson said of the goal of reaching $6 billion to $8 billion in asset sales this year.
http://firikis.ml/2019/05/14/warnermedia-svod-service-will-be-available-to-hbo-pay-tv-customers-variety/?i=1WarnerMedia expects to launch a beta version of its direct-to-consumer streaming service in the fourth quarter of 2019, with a “full-scale launch” in Q1 2020, Stephenson said. AT&T hasn’t disclosed expected pricing but has said it plans to hold a media day in September or October to show off the service.
While the WarnerMedia streaming service will be anchored by HBO, “we’ll surround that with the Warner Bros. library,” Stephenson said. In addition to a catalog of movies ranging from “Casablanca” to “Aquaman,” Warner Bros.’ maintains rights to a large number of TV shows, including “Friends,” “Seinfeld” and “The Big Bang Theory,” the CEO said.
“We’ll be bringing a lot of these licensing rights back to ourselves, back to our SVOD product,” Stephenson said. With regard to “Friends,” WB reupped its deal with Netflix for an estimated $100 million, giving it exclusive streaming rights through the end of 2019 — after which it can be added to WarnerMedia’s service as well.
Can't find it on their site, but hopefully it's the same price due to ITV Box Office not offering replays and not being on LGTVs or PS4 anymore.
Didn't give a price, just said it was available to order for UK & Ireland people, but I couldn't find it on their site.
Thanks, glad it'll be available over here. Was going to take a chance and order it on ITV but the lack of recording is a real drawback. Fingers crossed it's available on Fite soon.
Both Rhodes and Ross spoke with Variety in separate interviews in the weeks before the WarnerMedia deal announcement. Rhodes said that he sees an opportunity for AEW to fill a gap in the wrestling word.
“The term people are using is ‘alternative,'” Rhodes said. “For many years throughout my youth and plenty of other fans’ youths, pro wrestling has been essentially just one company and that’s not really the case. I want to be the sports-centric alternative in the pro wrestling world and I think we’re on a good path to get there.”
The media rights deal was negotiated by AEW president and CEO Tony Khan and Bernie Cahill, co-founder of Activist Artists Management, LLC, an entity where Khan is also an investor and partner. Khan is the son of billionaire Shahid Khan, the owner of several professional sports teams, including the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“AEW has a great opportunity because they’re not underfunded, the leadership has amazing vision, is young and youthful,” Ross said. “It’s probably the youngest group of decision makers ever in the business and I think that’s a pretty good statement because they’re going to be able to relate to that 18-34 demographic and 18-49 demographic very favorably.”
Ross dismissed the notion that AEW was going to challenge WWE directly as WCW did years ago, but did say that he feels a little competition is a good thing.
“Competition raises everybody’s game,” he said, “It will raise the wrestlers’ game, the creative people’s game, everybody. Everybody feels a sense of urgency when someone is competing with them.”
“Competitive means being profitable,” he continued. “It doesn’t mean, ‘We have to have this to beat the WWE.’ Our job is not to worry about what WWE is doing, not their TV clearances, not whose in the main event, nothing. With a growing company there are a lot of growing pains. It’s a mix of creative and athletics and a lot of different things. Our focus has to be us, period.”
Rhodes also touted the company’s plans to emphasize analytics as part of the show.
“One thing we really strongly want to present is wins and losses mattering again in pro wrestling. That takes more than the W and the L column,” he said. “We’re talking about percentage of times someone loses to this particular maneuver, percentages against somebody of this height, a whole by-the-numbers approach that really intrigues me. It’s not a cornerstone of AEW necessarily but it’s a great peripheral element we’re working on and that’s going to be exclusive to us.”
Rhodes, who is the son of WWE Hall of Famer Dusty Rhodes and a former WWE star himself, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to learn from people like WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon. But he also felt something was lacking during his time with the company.
“[As] much as I say it was a wonderful job, it wasn’t wrestling. That’s something I’ve learned a lot about, the grittiness and the sports-centric element of the industry that doesn’t exist really anywhere else currently. We have the opportunity to seize that.”
Basically announcing the new streaming service as well I assume. Hopefully we get an idea of AEW plans there too.