HBO Max launch and everything we know so far

A new contender is entering the busy video streaming space in May 2020 and will do so armed with a powerful punch. HBO Max is set to launch with a content library boasting more than 10,000 hours of content, fueled by HBO’s $85 billion purchase of Time Warner.

The new HBO streaming service promises plenty of titles, including Friends, one of the world’s most popular sitcoms, a wealth of classic comedies and a wide selection of award-winning dramas. Below is our guide to everything we know about the pending service so far.

HBO Max at a glance

HBO Max could become an immediate contender to the likes of Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Netflix. It’ll arrive with an impressive back catalog of quality content and an arsenal of new, original selections. Here are the top-line statistics we expect from the new service.

HBO Max
Monthly price$14.99/mo.
Free trialTBD; expected 7 days
Number of titles10,000+
Number of movies1,800
Amount of original content31 shows in first year

HBO Max may be included in many bundles, including HBO’s existing on-demand and live-TV streaming services. The reported $14.99/mo. price point is the same as HBO NOW, which has led to suggestions that the service might be available to existing HBO subscribers at no extra cost. There’s a chance HBO Max will also be available to AT&T’s 10 million unlimited data subscribers who also pay for HBO.

HBO Max standout features

Premium content

HBO Max will launch with high-quality premium content to rival every other video streaming service. Its headline content includes all episodes of popular 90s sitcoms Big Bang Theory and Friends after WarnerMedia spent nearly $1 billion to secure the rights to both. Reports also suggest a Friends reunion could be in the cards, but it’s expected to be an unscripted panel discussion between the cast and crew rather than new episodes.

HBO Max’s premium content will also include exclusive streaming rights to all 23 seasons of the cult comedy show South Park, plus the next three new seasons. It’s also likely to become the exclusive home to Doctor Who, featuring all 11 existing seasons and any future episodes of the hit British show after it debuts on BBC America.

The premium content will be topped off by the best of HBO programming—favorites like Game of Thrones, Sex and the City and Silicon Valley. There’ll also be new episodes of shows like Watchmen and Westworld.

Huge content library

You’ll never run out of things to watch with HBO Max’s huge catalog of shows and movies. Its strong back catalog will include hit comedy shows such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as well as dramas like Batwoman and Pretty Little Liars.

It also has the rights to all 21 Studio Ghibli animated features, including Oscar-winning Spirited Away and family favorite My Neighbour Totoro. This will be the Japanese studio’s first appearance on any streaming service.

Additional programming from the libraries of Cartoon Network, CNN, TNT, Turner Classic Movies, Warner Brothers and more will bolster HBO Max’s content library. 

Competitive original content

HBO Max will also have highly competitive original new programming, of which the headline act could be the Game of Thrones prequel, House of the Dragon.

Equally intriguing is Raised By Wolves, a series from Gladiator director Ridley Scott, about a pair of androids raising human children. HBO suggests the show will focus on a colony of humans on the verge of being torn apart by religious differences before being taken over by androids. Other original TV shows include Gremlins, an animated and Dune: The Sisterhood, a remake of the 1984 sci-fi cult favorite.

HBO Max also has a deal in place with Reese Witherspoon for two unannounced movies. It also plans to work with Arrow and The Flash producer, Greg Berlanti, to create a series about DC Comics superhero Green Lantern and a series based on Chris Bohjalian novel The Flight Attendant.

HBO Max drawbacks

Price

HBO Max’s price is one potential drawback. The suggested $14.99/mo. fee is more expensive than all its closest rival video streaming services. In comparison, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix are $8.99/mo. While Disney+ ($6.99/mo.), Hulu ($5.99/mo.) and AppleTV+ ($4.99/mo.) are all available for less than half the price of HBO Max. 

Movie volume

HBO Max’s volume of movies lags behind the libraries offered by some of its competitors. The service is likely to launch with around 1,800 movies—less than half of Netflix’s 4,563 films and at least three times fewer than Hulu’s 6,656 options. Amazon Prime Video’s collection of 18,405 movies dwarfs HBO Max’s library. It is, however, three times larger than Disney+’s 500 movies. So, if the widest possible choice of film options is your primary selection factor, then you may want to look elsewhere.

The takeaway

HBO Max is set to launch in May 2020. That gives potential subscribers plenty of time to mull over the value of the service compared to its many competitors in the video streaming space. It’s worth looking into any shows that will move away from your current streamer and onto HBO Max, such as Friends moving from Netflix.

HBO Max promises viewers plenty of high-quality premium content such as Big Bang Theory, Game of Thrones and South Park. And that’s supported by plenty of additional content from the HBO programming library, as well as some exciting new original content coming soon. However, this comes at a higher price point and with less movie content than its competitors.

Rob Latham

Contributing Writer

Rob Latham is a writer focused on technology, music, entertainment and sports. He is particularly passionate about the role that technology plays in improving peoples’ lives and helping businesses to work more effectively. He’s written marketing content for global B2B technology brands and start-ups, founded his own music blog and is a regular contributor to soccer publications. His professional background is in content marketing, public relations and journalism, and he has a Postgraduate Diploma in Journalism.