HBO Max announces launch month, subscription price, more original programs

October 29, 2019

The following is a press release from WarnerMedia:

WarnerMedia today unveiled significant new details about its HBO Max direct-to-consumer strategy on the company’s iconic Warner Bros. lot, revealing a comprehensive offering of programming options for every audience, product features and functionality, and its go-to-market plans.

“With this entire company coming together, we will have one of the most robust collections of premium streaming content that will appeal to all demographics in the household, and be able to achieve incredible scale and reach right out of the gate,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of WarnerMedia Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer. “We couldn’t achieve this without AT&T’s unprecedented and enthusiastic support. When you live in a world with ‘dragons’ — it feels very good to have one of your own in the game!”

Launching in May of 2020, WarnerMedia will be making HBO Max available to customers in the U.S. for $14.99 per month. The company is targeting 50 million domestic subscribers and 75 – 90 million premium subscribers by year-end in 2025 across the U.S., Latin America and Europe. At launch, AT&T will immediately offer HBO Max to the roughly 10 million HBO subscribers on AT&T distribution platforms, at no additional charge. HBO Now direct-billed users who subscribe directly through HBONow.com will also have access to Warner Media’s HBO Max product. AT&T customers on premium video, mobile and broadband services will be offered bundles with HBO Max included at no additional charge. We are in active discussions with our distributors and look forward to offering their customers seamless access to this great product.

“We’ve positioned HBO Max in a way that makes sense for our Company, our distribution partners and our customers,” said Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media. “We are creating a company-wide ‘membership-model’ that taps into AT&T’s 170 million direct-to-consumer relationships, 5,500 retail stores and 3.2 billion annual customer touchpoints to achieve scale and reach at launch.”

HBO Max will launch with 10,000 hours of curated premium content including the entire HBO service, bundled with new HBO Max Originals that expand the breadth of the offering targeted at young adults, kids and families.  HBO Max will pull from WarnerMedia’s deep library of fan favorites in its 100-year content collection, including library content from Warner Bros., New Line, DC, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth, Looney Tunes and more. HBO Max will also offer a robust selection of third party acquired series and movie titles that will rival any other streaming offering in the marketplace.

New Max Originals announced today include:

  • The Fungies!, from Stephen Neary and Cartoon Network Studios, is a prehistoric comedy that explores Fungietown through the whimsical quests of Seth, a young student at Fungietown Elementary.
  • Tig N’ Seek from Myke Chilian and Cartoon Network Studios is about 8-year-old Tiggy and his gadget-building cat, Gweeseek, as they search for the lost items of Wee Gee City. With Tiggy’s cheerful attitude and Gweeseek’s exceptional inventing capabilities, the duo humorously navigate day-to-day dilemmas at the Department of Lost and Found.
  • Tooned Out, executive produced by Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump; Cast Away; Back to the Future), is a half-hour, hybrid live-action and animated comedyThings get a little cartoony for Mac when he starts seeing iconic cartoon characters in his life, but they’re not just there for laughs, they’re helping him get through a very rough patch in his life.
  • Looney Tunes Cartoons, an all-new series of 80 eleven-minute episodes and holiday-themed specials from Warner Bros. Animation starring the cherished classic Looney Tunes characters for today’s kids. Iconic characters will include Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Tweety, Sylvester, Granny, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Tasmanian Devil, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote and many more.
  • Jellystonea new animated children’s comedy series from Warner Bros. Animation that will welcome viewers to the town of Jellystone, where their favorite Hanna-Barbera characters live, work, play, and stir up trouble together.
  • DC Super Hero High is a half-hour comedy series executive produced by Elizabeth Banks (Charlie’s Angels, Pitch Perfect, Shrill), which follows a group of students experiencing the fun and drama of adolescence at a boarding school for gifted kids. These teens are just trying to navigate the pressures of high school, but none of them realize that someday they will become legendary DC Super Heroes.
  • Rap Sh*t (working title) from Issa Rae (Insecure; A Black Lady Sketch Show) is a half-hour comedy series that follows a female rap group from outside of Miami trying to make it in the music industry.
  • College Girls (working title), the latest series from Mindy Kaling (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Late Night, The Mindy Project, The Office), is a 13-episode half-hour, single-camera comedy following three 18-year-old freshman roommates at Evermore College in Vermont who are equal parts lovable and infuriating.
  • Strange Adventuresa DC Super Hero anthology series executive produced by Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Titans, Doom Patrol), will feature characters from across the DC canon. This one-hour drama series will explore close-ended morality tales about the intersecting lives of mortals and superhumans.
  • Green Lantern inspired series from Berlanti Productions that will finally introduce characters from this iconic comic in Berlanti’s biggest series yet.
  • A Series of Stand Up Specials presented by Conan O’Brien will feature five new comedy specials. O’Brien will host two specials, featuring short sets from multiple up-and-coming comics while also curating one-hour sets from three comedians. In addition HBO Max has purchased the rights to a one-hour special from comedian James Veitch.
  • Raised by Wolvesan epic serialized sci-fi series executive produced and directed by Ridley Scott (The MartianBlade RunnerAlien: Covenant) centering on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet.
  • Bobbie Sue is a feature-length film starring Golden Globe® winner Gina Rodriquez (Jane the Virgin) following the story of a headstrong young lawyer who lands a career-making case with an upper crust law firm, only to realize she’s been hired for optics and not her expertise.

New HBO original announced today:

  • House of the Dragon, a 10-episode, straight-to-series order “Game of Thrones” prequel. Based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, the series, which is set 300 years before the events of “Game of Thrones,” tells the story of House Targaryen. Co-created by George R.R. Martin and Ryan Condal. Emmy award winning director Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan Condal will partner as showrunners and will also serve as executive producers along with George R.R. Martin and Vince Gerardis. Sapochnik will direct the pilot and additional episodes of the series, which will be written by Condal.

Newly Acquired and Library Titles:

  • In addition to the new original titles mentioned above, HBO Max also announced today a number of classic and library titles that will be coming to the streamer in its first year of launch, including: South Park, Rick & Morty, The O.C., Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Robot Chicken, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, The Bachelor, Impractical Jokers, The Closer, Rizzolli and Isles, Major Crimes, The Alienist, The West Wing, United Shades of America with Kamau Bell, This is Life with Lisa Ling, and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.
  • In addition, a collection of classics from the libraries of Looney TunesMerrie Melodies and Hannah Barbara will be available at launch.

“We are attracting top talent to bring in a wide variety of original ideas, curating the rich library assets of this company, and acquiring the most compelling third-party programming available,” said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer, HBO Max, president, TNT, TBS and truTV.

DEPTH AND BREADTH OF PROGRAMMING

HBO Max, anchored by HBO and its iconic shows, movies, documentaries and specials, will build on HBO’s legacy and offer something for every demographic – from dramas, comedies, sci-fi, and anime to children’s, unscripted, films, documentaries, comedy specials, late-night shows, blockbuster movies and library content – ensuring that everyone in the household has thousands of hours of entertainment at their fingertips.

In addition to series, specials and docs, HBO Max will have 1,800 film titles at launch that will cover every genre, taste and fan interest, including HBO’s vast collection/library of new theatrical hits and beloved classics. Global blockbuster franchises from Warner Bros. including The MatrixThe Lord of the RingsThe HobbitGremlins and the Lego movies will be available in the first year, along with every DC film from the last decade including Aquaman and Joker, and every Batman and Superman movie from the last 40 years.

“We work with an unmatched roster of innovative artists and we couldn’t be happier to be bringing them to HBO Max next year and well into the future,” said Ann Sarnoff, chair and CEO of Warner Bros. “HBO Max will have the pick of the litter here at Warner Bros.”

For a complete list of titles coming to HBO Max please visit here.

FEATURES AND FUNCTIONALITY

Throughout the year after its initial launch, HBO Max will roll out a variety of new features and functionality not found on any other streaming platforms today, including:

  • Recommended By Humans – HBO Max will combine Human Powered Discovery and analytics in novel ways to make it much easier for viewers to quickly find the content they are passionate about.  Here, talent and influencers will make recommendations to our users about content they love, in the form of short, authentic videos to talk about how they’ve fallen in love with it and why.
  • Co-Viewing – Research shows that many viewers are aware of how viewing with others can throw off their recommendations. HBO Max is solving this co-viewing challenge by allowing viewers to create shared homepages that are completely separate from their personal homepages, but tailored to the group’s likes and needs. They can create shared watch lists and view with members of their household without impacting their personal profiles.

HBO Max will also offer standard direct-to-consumer features, such as:

  • Content Hubs – Content hubs feature clusters of content from recognizable brands that attract passionate audiences.
  • Personalized Profiles & Homepages
  • Kids’ profiles and Parental PIN usage
  • Downloads for offline viewing

ADDITIONAL DETAILS

HBO Max’s leading quality and breadth of content will be fueled by AT&T’s continued investments and resources to ensure the offering is attractive to every household.

Within the first year of launch WarnerMedia plans to expand the service to include an AVOD option, offering consumers access to even more content, with more flexibility to manage the overall price value options on the platform.

The company also announced plans in the future to provide subscribers with unique live, interactive and special event programming as it continues to build out and differentiate HBO Max.

AT&T intends to expand HBO Max beyond the U.S., initially prioritizing Latin America and Europe where the company currently has ownership interest in or operates premium HBO networks, and has over-the-top services.

AT&T intends to invest significantly in HBO Max, with an incremental investment of $1.5 to $2 billion in the partial year of 2020 and continued investment in following years.  That investment includes spending for new content, foregone licensing revenue of our content, operating expense for the technology platform, and marketing.

“To build, launch and grow the best streaming platform available requires a major investment and total support,” said John Stankey, AT&T Chief Operating Officer and CEO of WarnerMedia. “We’re making that commitment and putting the strength of our entire company behind this.”

The replay of today’s webcast will be available at WarnerMediaday.com. More information is available at HBOMax.com.

Popsugar launches Popsugar Play/Ground, a female-focused lifestyle event

April 16, 2018

Popsugar Play/Ground

The following is a press release from Popsugar:

On June 9 and June 10, 2018, at Pier 94 in New York City, powerhouse global lifestyle media company POPSUGAR, along with event partner Reed Exhibitions, the world’s leading event organizer, will bring POPSUGAR’s content to life at POPSUGAR Play/Ground. A breakthrough festival that will provide experiences that are at once playful and grounding, attendees will have the opportunity to learn, shop, sweat, enjoy, and indulge.

Festivalgoers will find the ultimate happy place at this one-of-a-kind interactive wonderland with programming and panel conversations featuring Play/Ground creative advisors Kate Hudson, Mindy Kaling, and Yara Shahidi, as well as spiritual guru Gabby Bernstein and many others. Further highlights will include a musical performance by AlunaGeorge, an artist collaboration with Ashley Longshore, cutting-edge workouts lead by fitness superstars, an interactive shopping bazaar featuring exclusive product collaborations with favorite POPSUGAR brands, Instagram-worthy art installations, and so much more.

Attendees will also be able to experience curated brand activations. Presenting partner, eyelove, will educate women about the importance of eye health. “With experiential marketing on the rise, our involvement provides an exciting opportunity to engage with consumers in a new way, while encouraging them to prioritize their eye health,” said Michelle Nguyen, Consumer Marketing Lead, Ophthalmics at  Shire. Freeform, Disney’s young adult television television network, is also a presenting partner, and will have activations presenting their summer programming. Nordstrom will highlight Nordstrom’s approach to wellness and will feature Nordstrom beauty products and services. Lime-A-Rita, Moen, COVERGIRL, and many others will also participate.

“At POPSUGAR, we aim to make women’s lives happier, smarter and easier. With this new kind of festival, we will do the same while inspiring and entertaining them,” said Lisa Sugar, founder and president of POPSUGAR. “POPSUGAR Play/Ground’s programming reflects the wide range of interests of our audience, where they can come to engage every part of their lives in an unforgettable two day experience.”

“Our team is excited to collaborate with POPSUGAR in creating their biggest event yet with POPSUGAR Play/Ground and to bring Reed Exhibitions’ event expertise to the festival,” said Hervé Sedky, president of Reed Exhibitions, The Americas. “We’re thrilled to expand our portfolio of events and continue to forge a successful partnership with POPSUGAR.”

Central to the event will be the unique and powerful brand activations attendees can only experience at POPSUGAR Play/Ground. “Today’s consumers don’t just want to shop their brands; they want to fully experience everything their brands have to offer,” said Geoff Schiller, POPSUGAR CRO. “To that end, by activating at POPSUGAR Play/Ground, our brand partners will deliver on that promise and opportunity at scale. Together, we will engage, empower and inspire thousands of people.”

The two-day festival is expecting to attract more than 15,000 attendees. More guests, performers, sponsors, and exhibitors will be announced in the following months.

For more information on POPSUGAR Play/Ground and to purchase tickets, please click here.

About POPSUGAR:
POPSUGAR Inc. is a global media and technology company that is parent to lifestyle media publisher POPSUGAR, quarterly subscription box POPSUGAR Must Have, and makeup line Beauty by POPSUGAR. Together, the brands attract a monthly global audience of 400 million, generating 3.1 billion monthly content views. POPSUGAR is a leading lifestyle brand for young women, delivering inspiring, informative, and entertaining content in multiplatforms across entertainment, fashion, beauty, fitness, food, parenting, news, and more. POPSUGAR Studios, the video production arm of POPSUGAR, Inc., garners more than 390 million monthly views of its original series.

POPSUGAR Inc. operates internationally in Australia, the Middle East, and the UK, with offices in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and London. The company is privately held and funded by Sequoia Capital and IVP. For more information about POPSUGAR Inc., visit corp.popsugar.com.

About Reed Exhibitions:
Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events organizer, with over 500 events in over 30 countries. In 2016, Reed brought together over seven million active event participants from around the world, generating billions of dollars in business. Today, Reed events are held throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, and Africa and organized by 41 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events and is part of RELX Group, a world leading provider of professional information solutions. www.reedexpo.com

Mattel debuts movie-themed Barbies for ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ and ‘Tomb Raider’

February 19, 2018

by Jennifer Smith

Mattel has unveiled new Barbie dolls based on two fantasy adventure movies releasing in 2018: “A Wrinkle in Time” and “Tomb Raider.”

“A Wrinkle in Time” Barbie dolls based on the characters in the movie played by Mindy Kaling, Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon (Photo courtesy of Mattel)

For “A Wrinkle in Time,” the three new Barbie dolls are inspired by the characters of Mrs. Who (played by Mindy Kaling), Mrs. Which (played by Oprah Winfrey) and Mrs. Whatsit (played by Reese Witherspoon).  For “Tomb Raider,” the new Barbie doll is based on the character of Lara Croft (played by Alicia Vikander).

“A Wrinkle in Time” is the live-action film adaption of the classic children’s book written by Madeleine L’Engle. The movie, directed by Ava DuVernay, will be released by Walt Disney Pictures on March 9, 2018.

The “Wrinkle in Time” Barbie dolls go on sale for at a suggested retail price of about $50 each on the following dates:

  • Mrs. Whatsit: March 16, 2018
  • Mrs. Which: March 19, 2018
  • Mrs. Who: April 1, 2018

The movie “Tomb Raider,” directed by Roar Uthaug, is based on the video game of the same title. Warner Bros. Pictures will release the movie on March 16, 2018.  Angelina Jolie previously starred as Lara Croft in the 2001 movie “Lara Croft Tom Raider” and its 2003 sequel “Lara Croft Tome Raider: Cradle of Life.”

The “Tomb Raider” Barbie was unveiled at the 2018 New York Toy Fair. The doll goes on sale on March 9, 2018, at a suggested retail price of $29.99.

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