AT&T on Wednesday announced it will launch its HBO Max streaming service in May for $15 a month, making it the most expensive among major streaming service offerings that include Netflix, Apple and Disney.
The HBO Max price is the same as HBO Now, the pay channel’s current streaming service for people who don’t get the traditional cable channel that launched in 1972. The company will offer some subscribers of HBO’s cable channel or HBO Now free access to HBO Max, according to AT&T.
Netflix currently offers streaming for as low as $10.99 a month, Apple TV as low as $4.99 a month and Disney + is being offered for $7 a month.
HBO Max will offer movies and original programs from both the HBO and the WarnerMedia libraries, including the former NBC megahit “Friends.” Other popular programs such as Comedy Central’s “South Park” and CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” will also be offered.
The service will also launch 50 original series in the first year, but won’t release all episodes in a season at once, as is the practice for Netflix and other streaming services.
AT&T says it will invest approximately $2 billion into HBO Max next year and about $1 billion annually moving forward in 2021. For context, Netflix says it will invest $15 billion this year.
Netflix announced last week it will present 59 new offerings next month, including 43 original programs, as the company braces for competition from Apple TV Plus and Disney Plus in the increasingly competitive streaming video service space.
The Apple and Disney streaming offerings are set to launch on Nov. 1 and Nov. 12, respectively.
The moves by major media companies underscore the impact that increased cord-cutting is having on traditional cable, with younger audiences increasingly opting for relatively cost-effective streaming options.