AT&T’s upcoming streaming service will offer three different subscription tiers when it launches in late 2019.
The first tier will offer films from WarnerMedia’s catalogue, while the second tier will offer WarnerMedia TV series and “blockbuster movies,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The third tier, and seemingly the most expensive, will combine films from that library catalogue with original series. This will assumedly include shows from HBO, which AT&T is touting as a big gain for subscribers.
The third bundle will also include “more content licensed from third parties” eventually. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson did not suggest what each tier would cost.
WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey told reporters the end goal is to have subscribers want access to all three tiers, but start at a point they’re financially comfortable with. It’s essentially a packaged bundle, but instead of subscribers choosing from different cable packages, everything is available through a top-tier streaming membership. Spending top dollar will provide members with original TV shows, and access to WarnerMedia’s large library of films and television series.
AT&T and WarnerMedia’s approach to bundled streaming may sound familiar — it’s exactly what Disney is reportedly looking to accomplish. Disney is also set to launch its standalone streaming service in fall 2019, but The Hollywood Reporter notes the company is looking to bundle in two other prominent services — Hulu and ESPN+ — to offer a digital bundle options for consumers.
Disney owns ESPN, and will become Hulu’s majority shareholder once its acquisition of 21st Century Fox is finalized. Disney could then offer a similar bundle to what AT&T wants to accomplish with its streaming service.
It’s a move that makes sense when looking at the current streaming space and what’s to come. More companies are launching standalone streaming apps to compete against giants like Amazon and Netflix, including retailers like Wal-Mart and niche platforms like Crunchyroll’s VRV. Consumers only have a percentage of their monthly or annual budget they can dedicate toward entertainment. Companies like Disney and AT&T launching bundled packages, which would assumedly offer a discounted price for people who signed up for multiple services, is one way to entice consumers in an oversaturated market.
Disney hasn’t officially announced its plans to bundle its services, but CEO Bob Iger has suggested in previous investor calls that the company is open to exploring those options. Now, with AT&T and WarnerMedia suggesting that’s the path they want to go down, it seems more than likely that Disney will announce something similar as the launch date for its own streaming service nears.