Gone are the days of only needing one or two streaming subscriptions for access to the movies and television shows you want to watch. Major media companies, spurred by changing consumer behavior and the continued growth of services like Netflix and Hulu, are wading into the streaming waters, and the coming year will mark a major shift for the streaming television landscape as more than a half-dozen new services enter the space—making things even more crowded and complicated.
To prepare for what’s been dubbed the streaming wars, we’ve rounded up everything we know so far about all the major streaming services that five media companies are readying. (There are smaller OTT services on the way as well, including Quibi, the much-hyped mobile-only subscription entertainment service, and BET+, a smaller offering from Viacom’s BET Networks.) We’ll update this story regularly as more information about these major services becomes available.
Release date: Nov. 12
Ad-free tier price: $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year (A bundled subscription to Disney+, ESPN+ and an ad-supported version of Hulu will cost $12.99 a month, and a three-year subscription to Disney+ will cost less than $4 a month, or $46.99 per year.)
Ad-supported tier price: No ad-supported tier planned.
Original programming highlights: The lineup will include two live-action series and one animated series taking place in the Marvel Universe, including Loki starring Tom Hiddleston, and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier starring Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan. The service will also have several Star Wars series, including the live-action The Mandalorian, and Pixar offerings like the Monsters Inc. spinoff Monsters at Work. Several original animated films and series from Disney properties like Phineas and Ferb, High School Musical and Lady and the Tramp are also in the works.
Library programming highlights: All 30 seasons of The Simpsons, all Star Wars and Pixar films, a growing number of Disney animated movies, plus more recent Disney films like Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame. Disney+ will also include The Sound of Music, The Princess Bride and Malcolm in the Middle.
Name: Apple TV+
Release date: Nov. 1
Ad-free tier price: $4.99 a month, or free for a year for customers who have purchased Apple hardware.
Ad-supported tier price: No ad-supported tier planned.
Original programming highlights: The service will include The Morning Show, a drama series starring Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell, about the making of a morning news program, and Amazing Stories, a reboot of the ’80s Steven Spielberg anthology series. Jason Momoa will star in See, a futuristic drama about a world where survivors of a worldwide virus are left blind, and Kumail Nanjiani is working on the anthology series Little America, which will focus on immigrants in the U.S. Brie Larson, J.J. Abrams, Damien Chazelle, M. Night Shyamalan and Oprah Winfrey have all been tapped to develop series and documentaries for the service.
Library programming highlights: Apple hasn’t provided any information about library titles coming to the service, and it is unclear whether Apple TV+ will feature any library content.
Name: HBO Max
Release date: May 2020 (exact date TBD)
Ad-free tier price: $14.99 a month, the same price as an HBO subscription.
Ad-supported tier price: An ad-supported version will become available in 2021, but details haven’t been announced.
Original programming highlights: Love Life, a half-hour romantic comedy anthology from actress and executive producer Anna Kendrick, is coming to the service, as is Dune: The Sisterhood, which takes place in the world of Frank Herbert’s science fiction classic Dune. HBO Max will also have an animated series based on the film Gremlins, along with several original films and television shows from producer Greg Berlanti (including The Flight Attendant, starring The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco), as well as two original films from Reese Witherspoon. HBO Max will also include all of HBO’s original programming. In July, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said live programming like sports and news will eventually become “really important elements” of the service.
Library programming highlights: Television shows like Friends (which WarnerMedia snapped up from Netflix), The Big Bang Theory, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Pretty Little Liars will all be on HBO Max. The service will also be the home of all future Warner Bros.-produced dramas for The CW, including Batwoman and Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene. A deal with BBC America means the service will host all 11 seasons of Doctor Who, including new seasons of the program after they air on BBC America, along with programming like Top Gear, Luther and the original U.K. mockumentary The Office. And HBO Max has secured the exclusive streaming rights to the beloved animated comedy South Park.
Release date: April 2020 (exact date TBD)
Ad-free tier price: An ad-free version will be available, but the company hasn’t released pricing information yet.
Ad-supported tier price: An ad-supported version with a “light advertising load,” according to Comcast CEO Brian Roberts, will be free for Comcast cable subscribers and Sky subscribers in international markets. The price for non-cable subscribers is still TBD.
Original programming highlights: Dr. Death, a drama based on the true-crime podcast of the same name, is in the works, and will star Alec Baldwin, Christian Slater and Jamie Dornan. Mr. Robot creator Sam Esmail is working on a Battlestar Galactica reboot for the service, and reboots of Saved By the Bell and Punky Brewster are also in the works. Additionally, a third season of the comedy series A.P. Bio, the first two seasons of which aired on NBC, is coming exclusively to the platform, along with a Real Housewives spinoff.
Library programming highlights: The Office, which will move from Netflix to Peacock in 2021, will be on the service, along with other comedies like 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. All episodes of Battlestar Galactica will also be available on the service, along with all of Saturday Night Live, The Real Housewives and Will & Grace.
Release date: Sometime in 2020
Ad-free tier price: TBD
Ad-supported tier price: TBD
Original programming highlights: Discovery hasn’t shared any info beyond saying that it plans to invest in it.
Library programming highlights: The service will have BBC’s natural history programming, like Planet Earth, Blue Planet, Life and Dynasties. Other future BBC-commissioned series from BBC Studios, and existing BBC programming, will also go on the streaming service, along with Discovery’s existing content library.