It’s hard to imagine that the OTT space could get even more crowded than it already is, but that’s what 2019 is about to usher in. A slew of new streaming services will arrive on the scene, going toe-to-toe with current big players like Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu, Showtime, Amazon and YouTube Premium.
Here are the biggest streaming offerings set to roll out next year.
The company, which completed its $85 billion purchase of Time Warner in June, will launch a direct-to-consumer offering in Q4 of 2019.
The still-unnamed OTT product, which AT&T first announced in October and shared more deals about with investors last month, will rely heavily on content from WarnerMedia, including HBO and the Warner Bros. library.Randall Stephenson said earlier this month that it will be a three-tiered service with a “core platform of movies,” which will be followed by a second tier of original programming and blockbuster movies and a third layer that features the library content (some of which could be licensed from third-parties), including classics, kids/family and niche programming.
AT&T doesn’t intend for the service “to become another Netflix,” said Stephenson, explaining that it is “not our ambition” for the OTT product to rival Netflix as a “warehouse of content.”
Disney has slowly rolled out information about its upcoming OTT channel, Disney+, which is expected to launch in late 2019.
The channel will feature a second live-action Star Wars series, currently in development, and though it will have less content than Netflix, Walt Disney Company chairman and CEO Robert Iger said it would be cheaper. The app will feature programming from brands such as Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.
“We’re going to walk before we run as it relates to volume of content, because it takes time to build the kind of content library that ultimately we intend to build,” Iger said in August.
Apple has greenlit a number of original shows during the past year—including one about the morning news starring Steve Carell, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston—but it’s not clear on which platform that content will live when it is finally released. That content is finally expected to be rolled out next year, though specifics remain under wraps.
Viacom CEO Bob Bakish said his company is taking a “multifaceted” OTT strategy and will include direct-to-consumer options as well as producing content to sell to other services or content library.
“We do believe there is an opportunity on AVOD, ad-supported video on demand, and that is useful for building a funnel into our subscription products,” Bakish said at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference.
Viacom has already tiptoed into the OTT space and has content from its Nickelodeon brand on a standalone “NickSplat” channel on video aggregation platform, VRV.
Discovery, Inc. executives have said they’re considering a direct to consumer offering, especially now that the company has 17 networks in its portfolio after merging in March with Scripps Networks Interactive.
Though execs have said they’re only considered the options, which could include bundling a number of brands, like HGTV, Food Network and TLC, in one channel. In theory, it could cost as low as $5 to $8 per month, said president and CEO David Zaslav in July.
There’s no timetable on when such a bundle might be available, though—if they decide to move forward with it. The channel, made up of “these great global brands with characters and shows and a fantastic library,” could sell globally, Zaslav said.