Friends reunited as WarnerMedia names HBO Max as DTC brand | VOD | News | Rapid TV News
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2019 is the year of direct-to-consumer and as it aims to be a player along with the likes of Apple and Disney, WarnerMedia has at last revealed the core details of its heavily trailed new streaming service.

HBOMax logo 10July2019The offer will work under the HBO Max brand and will bring together programming from the core HBO channel and a slate of new originals and programming from Warner Bros., New Line, DC Entertainment, CNN, TNT, TBS, truTV, The CW, Turner Classic Movies, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth and Looney Tunes among others.

HBO Max, scheduled to launch commercially in spring of 2020, is anticipated to premiere with 10,000 hours of premium content. As it made its branding announcement WarnerMedia revealed that it would be terminating Netflix’s franchise for classic comedy Friends in 2020 so that HBO Max has exclusive streaming rights at launch to all 236 episodes of one of the biggest hits on television.

Other deals include and in streaming be deals with Warner Bros. Television and others for HBO Max announced today include exclusive streaming rights at launch to all episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Pretty Little Liars; streaming home to new Warner Bros.’ produced dramas for The CW beginning with the autumn 2019 season, including the highly-anticipated new DC Entertainment series Batwoman and Katy Keene, the spinoff of Riverdale.

There are also new exclusive film production deals with Greg Berlanti, one of Hollywood’s most prolific and successful producers, and Reese Witherspoon. Berlanti will produce an initial four films focused in the young adult space, while Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine will produce at least two films.

In the new direct-to-consumer company Casey Bloys, programming president of HBO, continues to oversee content on the HBO service, with investment in HBO original programming having been increased 50% over normal spending. Kevin Reilly, president of the Warner Media Entertainment Networks that include TNT, TBS, and truTV, will also serve as chief content officer of HBO Max overseeing all new original content — in what will be called the Max Originals line — and library content. Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media, now oversees the development of HBO Max with Andy Forssell, also from Otter Media and formerly CEO of Hulu, as the general manager.

Max Original series previously announced include: Dune: The Sisterhood, Tokyo Vice, The Flight Attendant; Love Life; Station Eleven; Made for Love; and Gremlins.

“HBO Max will bring together the diverse riches of WarnerMedia to create programming and user experiences not seen before in a streaming platform,’” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman, WarnerMedia Entertainment and direct-to-consumer. “HBO’s world-class programming leads the way, the quality of which will be the guiding principle for our new array of Max Originals, our exciting acquisitions, and the very best of the Warner Bros. libraries, starting with the phenomenon that is Friends. Under the leadership of...Casey Bloys...Kevin Reilly... Tony Goncalves and Andy Forssell ... I have no doubt they and their dedicated teams will deliver the world’s best storytelling to audiences of all ages wherever and whenever they want it.”