The streaming world is in the midst of several shakeups these days. Last month, AT&T relinquished its Hulu shares. Following that, a groundbreaking deal meant Disney took control of Hulu. Now, AT&T will remove popular WarnerMedia shows from rival streaming services such as Netflix, making them exclusive to AT&T’s upcoming streaming service.
At a conference in Dallas, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson confirmed the company’s plans to bring popular content back to AT&T exclusivity. The move will bring the new streaming service a competitive edge over giants such as Netflix and Hulu.
Perhaps the most daunting show transition will be that of Friends. The classic ’90s sitcom is the property of WarnerMedia. Netflix had to pay a whopping $100 million to exclusively stream the show through 2019, and it became one of the most popular shows on Netflix. Losing Friends to WarnerMedia will deal a large blow to Netflix.
The exclusivity of shows and licensing is an ongoing point of interest in the deals surrounding streaming services. When WarnerMedia’s stake in Hulu was bought by Disney, there was a condition in the deal which hinted at some WarnerMedia products possibly staying tied to Hulu. The nature of the ongoing relationship between Disney and WarnerMedia is unclear.
The new AT&T streaming service is expected to launch later this year. Upon launch, it will offer three different subscription tiers for consumers to choose from. One advantage AT&T will likely boast is offering HBO shows at the most expensive tier. Lower tiers will have access to WarnerMedia’s extensive film and TV catalog. Depending on the tier chosen, the service will cost viewers between $10 and $20 per month.
With so many new streaming services on the horizon, it’s clear that many popular shows will be subject to these type of brawls. Consumers want the most for their money, and all the upcoming changes will bring fierce competition between services to be the king of streaming.