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Bob Greenblatt on WarnerMedia Streaming Strategy: ‘The Assets are Undeniable’

CANNES — AT&T is ready for battle in the streaming wars.

The new parent company of HBO and Warner Bros. has moved quickly to respond to consumer demand by marshaling its forces behind the launch next spring of HBO Max, WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told a crowd of international TV and digital executives here on Tuesday.

In his address to the Mipcom conference, Greenblatt said there is no longer any doubt that the television audience is steadily migrating away from live viewing for many shows toward subscription on-demand streaming platforms. Greenblatt was recruited to head HBO, the former Turner entertainment assets and WarnerMedia’s dive into the direct-to-consumer streaming business.

“All of the assets of the company — HBO and Warner Bros. — are coming together in one big platform we’re really excited about,” Greenblatt said during a Q&A that accompanied his Personality of the Year kudo from Mipcom.

‘WarnerMedia is very aggressively moving into this space. The assets are undeniable. The buy-in from AT&T is strong and aggressive,” Greenblatt said.

Greenblatt sketched out the vision for HBO Max as serving as a programming add-on to the mothership HBO offering. HBO Max will seek to fill out other audience niches that HBO typically does not reach.

“The Max part of it is new original programming broaden it out from kids to adults,” Greenblatt said. HBO Max has the benefit of relying on Warner Bros.’ vault to help assemble the kind of deep programming library — from kidvid to vintage movies to 1980s and ’90s blockbusters — that keeps SVOD users in binge-watching mode.

Greenblatt cited titles in the Warner Bros. library that range from “The Wizard of Oz” and “Citizen Kane” to “The West Wing” and “The Big Bang Theory.”

“It’s a treasure-trove of great shows,” he said. “Movies and original series are the reasons people want these platforms, but then you round them out with all this great additional content. There’s an enormous wealth of material that covers every genre that we’re putting into this platform.”

WarnerMedia plans to unveil more details about the pricing, distribution, user interface and content plans for HBO Max at its Oct. 29 presentation to investors that will be held on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank. There have been concerns raised that the dawn of HBO Max will bring changes to the high-end, groundbreaking programming that built HBO.

Greenblatt assured moderator Anna Carugati, group editorial director of World Screen, that HBO’s mission has not changed.

“We’re not asking HBO to do anything that they don’t do now,” Greenblatt said. “We’re adding additional programs alongside HBO by it won’t be HBO.”

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