On Wednesday, AT&T announced that Jason Kilar, former Hulu CEO, will be the new CEO of WarnerMedia, beginning May 1. After that announcement, Deadline shared an interview with Kilar, during which he shared his thoughts on the impact of coronavirus on the entertainment industry and how he plans to lead the company through the launch of HBO Max.
Hiring a former Hulu CEO to head up WarnerMedia a clear sign that the company is going all in on investing resources in its future in streaming. However, it. May be a while before we see the results of that investment.
“We are still in the early innings of customers worldwide starting to watch content on demand. There are 200 million paying customers that pay for video services in a 7-to-8 billion population world,” Kilar told Deadline. “Under the hood from a tech standpoint, it’s very important to get that [tech] right, invest in it. Those are the two very important things. The tech is hard to do but once you get it right, the cost of distribution in a tech environment like digital, is that variable costs are so small it allows you to go global.”
One of the areas that Kilar is focused on getting right is the ad-supported version of HBO Max. He told Deadline that, considering the current climate and its effect on advertising, “he’s glad the ad-supported version of HBO Max wasn’t slated to launch until 2021.” Fortunately, Kilar was in charge at Hulu during the platform’s launch of free/ad-supported tiers.
The paid version of HBO Max is set to launch next month. AT&T has said that the pair tier will cost $14.99/month and will include everything currently offered by HBO Now, 10,000+ hours of content from a variety of networks, and original programming.
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