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Discussion in 'Internet Streaming Services' started by techguy88, Nov 13, 2020.
Just added to my televisions. Now to find time to watch it!
This is interesting (from the HBO Max device page):
So there are three different scenarios depending on which Channels service someone subscribed to HBO:
Prime Video Channels: Sometime next year Amazon will remove HBO from Prime Video Channels. In the meantime Prime Video Channels can continue selling HBO Prime Video Channels subscriptions with HBO Max included and those users can login to the HBO Max app with their Prime Video credentials.
Apple TV Channels: Removed the ability to subscribe to HBO Apple TV Channels but grandfathered existing subs, includes access to HBO Max with Apple ID credentials.
The Roku Channel: Removed the ability to subscribe to HBO The Roku Channel and existing grandfathered subscribers do not have access to HBO Max via their Roku credentials.
Although to be fair, HBO The Roku Channel subscribers never had the ability to login to the extinct HBO Go or HBO Now apps via Roku credentials.
Cinemax is still available via Channels services (that did not change due to HBO Max.)
The HboMax app on roku needs work, about 50% of the time when launching it, selecting the profile, it exits out of the blue. Along with a fair number of folks more than a little bent as to the layout of the thing, needs more than a little bit of work. Maybe it will improve in short order and the exiting at odd points will be fixed; if they actually start up 4k tomorrow with ww84 we'll see if there are other minor/major glitches, but again doesn't appear they spent a whole lot of time debugging the thing while the coin crunchers were doing their thing.
When I was setting up the 2 Roku Ultras for my mom & grandma I noticed the Roku HBO Max app is using the launch layout and not the one found on other devices like my Xbox One X, Apple TV & Google TV/Android TV. So I wouldn't be surprised if the updates WarnerMedia had to make with the legacy HBO app from 5/27 - 12/16 while working on the other versions has played a part in this as well. IIRC Peacock had some bugs on Roku that also took a few weeks after NBCU & Roku reached a deal to work out.
One thing that does help in the meantime is going into Roku's settings and selecting restart. However on the last gen Roku Ultras I had and gave to my mom I noticed the crashing issue was prevalent with HBO Max but also extended to Disney+, Hulu, Movies Anywhere, Destination America and ID.
The android HboMax app looks a lot more polished, a bit of wobbliness in Disney+ but seems 'few and far between' on average. I almost have a 'bad programming' tote board where I keep tabs on how many code breaks I tally each day, where after 50 years of programming (and i really don't consider myself a professional as I don't hold a degree in the field but always seemed to get roped into cleaning up messes all the time over the years) but my tolerance for abject stupidity is extremely low, as my 'get off my lawn' increases as my retirement date (almost 20 years ago) fades into the dim past.
Wonder Woman (2017) is now available in 4K HDR on HBO Max.
Kinda a mix of HBO Max / DirecTV here. Key numbers from Q4 2020 Financial and Operational Trends.
Total Domestic HBO Max & HBO Subscribers - 41.5 million (+ 3.5 million vs Q3 2020)
HBO Max - Wholesale (Legacy pay-TV/virtual pay-TV/ISP/Wireless Providers) - 30.8 million (+ 5.7 million vs Q3 2020)
HBO Max - Retail (Direct to consumer, in-app purchases) - 6.9 million (+ 3.3 million vs Q3 2020)
HBO Max Activations - 17.2 million (+ 8.6 million vs Q3 2020)
The hybrid release of Wonder Woman 1984 is credited to help drive the total domestic HBO Max/HBO subscribers to 41.5 million. This is 2 years ahead of their projected target. (From the AT&T news release)
HBO (Standalone/No HBO Max access) - 197,000 (- 5.4 million vs Q3 2020)
Note: Keep in mind WarnerMedia reached an agreement with Amazon for HBO Max in Q4 2020. Prime Video-HBO subscribers were migrated into HBO Max counts since they are now eligible to get HBO Max at no additional cost with their Prime Video-HBO subscription.
The remaining standalone HBO subscribers come from very small providers that have not reached an agreement for HBO Max (i.e. Google Fiber's legacy TV service) and those subscribed to HBO via The Roku Channel (Roku Channel-HBO subscribers have to cancel that subscription and either subscribe to HBO Max directly or subscribe to the service via Roku in-app purchase.)
HBO Commercial (no HBO Max access included) - 3.7 million (- 22,000 vs Q3 2020)
Pay Television services
Total video subscribers - 17.2 million (-643,000 vs Q3 2020)
Premium TV (includes DirecTV, U-Verse TV & AT&T TV) - 16.5 million (-617,000 vs Q3 2020)
Premium TV ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) - $137.64 (+7.09 vs Q3 2020)
Per AT&T (via Investor Briefing): "617,000 loss due to competition, lower gross adds from the continued focus on adding higher value customers and a programming dispute, partially offset by lower churn."
Over-the-Top (AT&T TV Now) - 656,000 (-27,000 vs Q3 2020)
Per AT&T: "Beginning in January 2021, AT&T TV NOW has been combined with AT&T TV. AT&T TV NOW connections as of 4Q20 include 12K free or substantially free trial-period subscribers. AT&T has successfully retained many subscribers after the expiration of their trial period."
It seems it is more a case of keeping the long-time high value customers rather than adding new high-value customers. New customers get fairly large discounts (more than some OTT streamers pay).
It would be nice to know how each part of that ‘Premium’ performed.
Probably not going to happen. It might give unintended insight into what AT&T is planning to unload in the "auction" action. It is starting to look more and more like the whole Premium TV suite is to be shared.
Five will get you ten that they claim that the Premium TV numbers were great next quarter. Of course we know that they will get a big boost from moving all the Now customers into the Premium TV barn but it wouldn't be entirely fair to claim them as added customers.
The Now customers don’t move, or at least it doesn’t appear to me that they will. They just stay where they are until either they cancel or AT&T shuts it all the way down.
No, the margins on retail customers who come in via digital app store distributors (Apple, Google, Amazon, Roku) is traditionally greater than wholesale customers who come via an MSO like Comcast, Charter, etc. And on those retail customers who sign up directly via HBOMax.com, there's no commission to pay out to any distributor at all.
Another bit of news today is that they confirmed plans to introduce a cheaper ad-supported version of HBO Max in the second quarter of this year.
AT&T CEO John Stankey Targets Q2 for AVOD Version of HBO Max | Next TV
I'm still trying to figure out what that's gonna look like. In the past, they talked about "premium" content -- which I take to mean the series, films, docs, and specials tagged as "HBO" inside the HBO Max app -- remaining ad-free. So does only the rest of the catalog -- Max Originals, non-HBO older theatrical films, licensed TV shows -- get ads? Maybe like Peacock, with movies having all the ads before it begins, and shows having short ad breaks interspersed throughout?
But even if that's the case, how much less can they price the thing if it still has the full HBO catalog included, all ad-free? I mean, just a year ago they were charging $15/mo for just HBO. Now they're charging the same for all that PLUS a whole lot more content, all of it ad-free. Look, Showtime -- with a smaller, lower-quality ad-free premium catalog -- is $11.
So I'm wondering if the ad-supported version of HBO Max will be lighter on the HBO part. Maybe it has all of the non-HBO catalog, with ads as I laid out above. But from the HBO part of the catalog, it only has select content that's, say, at least 2 years old (and still ad-free, because that's part of the HBO premium brand). Kind of like the HBO stuff that used to be licensed to Prime Video. And maybe this cheaper version doesn't have any of the 2021 WB theatrical film releases and nothing in 4K HDR. I could see them pricing that at, say, $7/mo.
Or maybe they omit all the HBO content and name the new ad-supported service Warner Max and price it at $5/mo to compete with Peacock Premium?
It will be interesting to see how the AVOD tier shapes up based on the different reports. However WarnerMedia is hampered by existing contracts with MVPDs in regards to no ads on HBO content. Hulu has select content that will air ads even on the no-ads plan. IIRC How To Get Away With Murder is one of the affected shows and has ads placed at the beginning before the show starts.
Although I don't think it would harm them too much if they only have half the catalog ad-supported or don't include certain HBO content in the ad-supported tier. Having everything in one app with the ability to upsell customers to a higher tier is easier than what ViacomCBS is planning by keeping Paramount+ and Showtime separated.
If you don't go with the Apple TV+ bundle, ViacomCBS offers a CBS All Access (w/ads) + Showtime bundle for $14.99/mo which is the same price as HBO Max's ad-free tier. To get CBS All Access (No Ads) + Showtime they charge $18.99/mo. That is considerably higher than HBO Max and slightly higher than Netflix Premium both of which offers select content in 4K HDR at their highest price points.
The Apple TV+ bundle which has CBS All Access (No-Ads) + Showtime is $9.99/mo with an Apple TV+ subscription. However you can only access Showtime content via Apple TV Channels and I bet not many people know they can use the CBS AA app with their CBS AA-Apple TV Channels subscription to get full access to their live linear streams and the Big Brother live feeds during the summer which are unavailable via the Apple TV app. The Apple TV app only includes a linear feed of the local CBS station for subscribers.
Also a kicker is if a movie is available in 4K HDR via an iTunes purchase and Showtime has the streaming rights you will only be able to watch that film in HD SDR via Showtime Apple TV Channels. If you purchase the same film from iTunes it unlocks the 4K HDR version.
ViacomCBS' plan is actually more confusing not only for investors (on the content side) but for customers on how to get the best offer and how to use the two services.
HBO Max would be simpler to understand if WarnerMedia goes the rout of excluding HBO content from the AVOD tier. If WarnerMedia keeps HBO content ad-free in the AVOD tier they could keep some features of the service exclusive to the current No-Ads tier. Like the AVOD tier capped at 1080p SDR content while the No-Ads tier has the 4K HDR content. They could also pull a Peacock and restrict offline downloads to the highest tier.
I know they said they have no plans to do so, but I can't believe that ViacomCBS will take too long before they begin offering Showtime as an in-app on-add to Paramount+ at a discounted rate. They distribute Showtime as on add-on every other possible way (traditional cable bundle, Prime Video, Hulu, Apple TV app, The Roku Channel, YouTube TV, etc.), so why wouldn't they do so in their own flagship non-premium app, Paramount+? Although it might be a messy question to sort out which Showtime subscribers are able to access that content inside the P+ app. Like, could you use your Showtime Anytime credentials to unlock the Showtime section in P+? My guess is that it would only be for those folks who pay for Showtime via the same billing mechanism as they do P+.
Yes, when you compare ViacomCBS's services/catalogs versus the other OTT players, it's not a great value proposition, IMO. (Keep in mind that a lot of Showtime's back catalog of high-quality originals are now also licensed out to competing services, like Peacock and Netflix. Some iconic Showtime series such as Nurse Jackie aren't even available on Showtime any more!) So I do think that if ViacomCBS wants to get serious about growth, they're going to have to cut their prices and/or somehow expand their catalog for P+ and/or Showtime. (I've been saying for awhile now that they should acquire Lionsgate and/or MGM and fold Starz and/or Epix into Showtime and the TV and film studios into Paramount.)
Oh, BTW, Showtime began offering a small amount of original content in 4K and 4K HDR last spring. (They certainly have more than HBO Max so far.) Not sure if CBS AA has any yet, though.
Eh, I don't know about that. Given their situation, and the fact that Showtime (to an even greater extent than HBO) is still distributed and consumed as an add-on to traditional cable TV, I think it makes sense for ViacomCBS to preserve Showtime as its own separate brand and product, as a premium, always ad-free service focused on originals and theatrical films for adult tastes. I think they just need to also offer and advertise it as an optional add-on inside P+ with a bundle price that makes sense and is competitive. Meanwhile, they have to continue aggressively distributing Showtime as an add-on to everything else out there too (as well as a standalone via the Showtime app for the small number of folks who want it that way). They understand that Showtime is never going to be many folks' primary subscription. It'll always be a premium addition to something bigger and broader, whether that's the cable bundle or Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, P+, etc.
P+, OTOH, I don't know. It will be interesting to see if they continue to offer it as an add-on to Prime Video and Apple TV or if they decide, like Peacock, to offer it only via their own app. I'm not sure that P+ will have what it takes to scale up and survive long-term. It's obviously not a niche service but I don't know if it has what it takes in terms of content/value to survive against Hulu, HBO Max, Disney+, Discovery+ and Peacock. We'll see...
Well, if they decide not to put any HBO content in the AVOD tier, that creates a branding problem. You can't call it HBO Max if it doesn't include any HBO! So they'd have to name it something else (e.g. Warner Max). But then wouldn't that mean it having its own separate app in the app stores? If the hope is that many of those folks would be lured to upgrade to full HBO Max, then you don't want it having a separate brand name and app.
Which is why I come back to the idea of the AVOD tier having a decent amount of older HBO originals (ad-free). It might include the entire run of GoT, Girls, and The Sopranos but only have the first season of Barry and Succession. For new HBO series, the first episode would be available for sampling but nothing else. They could call that tier HBO Max Lite or some such and still distribute it via the same HBO Max app under the main HBO Max brand. And yes, I would also see some amount of feature differentiation between the two tiers, e.g. 4K HDR, downloads, possibly number of simultaneous streams.
Zack Snyder's Justice League hits HBO Max on March 18, 2021 as a single full film.
Full Official Trailer for Zack Snyder's Justice League released today
Cinemax Original series The Kick and Banshee will be available on HBO Max through the HBO service. (These will be available outside the HBO Max app like DirecTV On Demand, Prime Video Channels w/HBO, etc.)
Cinemax Originals currently on HBO Max through HBO
Cinemax Originals coming soon to HBO Max through HBO
The Kick (Saturday, Feb. 20)
Banshee (Tuesday, Feb. 23)
Cinemax Originals still exclusive to Cinemax
WarnerMedia has amended the international release plan for Zack Snyder's Justice League. In Canada, the film will stream exclusively on Crave + HBO, in markets where WarnerMedia operates an HBO outlet the film will stream there. (For Latin America this is new since Warners was initially planning on holding the Snyder Cut until the proper launch of HBO Max in the region.) Other areas will be announced within the next few weeks. Depending on existing deals the movie could go to a Buy/Rent model or stream on an SVOD partner where HBO does not operate.
I thought we might see this happen after Warrior and C.B. Strike were added to HBO. One reason why I think they're doing it is that HBO is kinda starving for fresh English-language scripted series content right now due to last year's pandemic filming shutdown. Lately, the new stuff showing up on HBO is either docs or foreign-language scripted.
I've got C.B. Strike on my watchlist. (Will probably start it after I finish Perpetual Grace, Ltd. on Epix here soon.) I remember watching the first ep of Banshee a long time ago and it was good, so that's a maybe for me. I'd like to check out Jett. I like Carla Gugino. Jett and Warrior were the only two Cinemax Originals that hadn't been cancelled (aside from foreign import Trackers), so if either got enough viewership on HBO/HBO Max, it's possible that they get renewed as Max Originals. Warner has already shifted Search Party over from being a TBS Original to a Max Original.
Anyhow, it looks like my prescription for Cinemax may be in play: shift its originals over to HBO Max or license them out to other services, then pull them completely off Cinemax and return it back to its roots as a set of cable channels solely airing uncut, commercial-free theatrical movies. I'd go further and only shift recent films from HBO to Cinemax for the last two months of their pay-one window, while keeping them on HBO Max for the full window. The bulk of the Cinemax library would just be older movies that aren't on any of the HBO linear channels that month (although some of them may be streaming on HBO Max). In this way, Cinemax would continue to be a complement to HBO on the cable dial but wouldn't really compete with HBO Max. Sell it to cable TV subscribers for $5-6 per month a la carte (or maybe in an add-on bundle with TCM, like Comcast's $10/mo More Sports & Entertainment package). Also try to get MVPDs to add it into the top-level basic cable channel package (e.g. Comcast's Preferred, Charter's Gold). In other words, make Cinemax the step-down service to HBO in the same way that Encore was to Starz.