At launch, HBO Max will be available on Apple devices and fully integrated with the Apple TV app on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Apple TVs. The Cupertino tech giant is teaming with WarnerMedia on the launch of HBO Max despite having its own competitive horse in the subscription-streaming race in the form of Apple TV Plus.
Under the companies’ deal, existing HBO Now customers (and HBO subscribers through Apple TV channels) who are billed through Apple’s App Store will be upgraded automatically to HBO Max at no additional charge. New HBO Max customers will be able to subscribe, for $14.99 per month, using in-app purchasing on Apple devices.
Apple’s App Store typically takes a 30% cut of sales through third-party apps and subscription services (although Apple steps the fee down to 15% after one year for subscriptions). WarnerMedia declined to comment on the terms of the pact with Apple.
In addition to Apple platforms, HBO Max — coming out of the gate with some 10,000 hours of new and library programming — will be available directly from WarnerMedia, Charter Communications, YouTube TV, and parent company AT&T, which is making HBO Max free to some customers on high-end service tiers.
HBO Max will be available as a native app only for the fourth-generation Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K. Subscribers with older Apple TV 2nd and 3rd generation set-tops can stream HBO Max content from their iPhone or iPad to their TV with AirPlay.
In the Apple TV app, HBO Max content will be featured in the “Watch Now” section and will also have a dedicated HBO Max menu. Users will be able to add shows and movies to their Up Next watchlist as well as search for HBO Max series and movies using Apple’s Siri and universal search features.
HBO Max is a superset of HBO, and WarnerMedia’s hope is that it can win a meaningful number of new customers by pumping up the lineup with a slew of new and library content.
The company will have six originals on HBO Max at launch – “Love Life,” “On the Record,” “Legendary,” “Craftopia,” “Looney Toons Cartoons” and “The Not Too Late Show with Elmo” – plus full seasons of “Friends”; “The Big Bang Theory”; “Doctor Who”; “Rick and Morty”; “The Bachelor”; “Sesame Street”; “Pretty Little Liars”; and more.
Later in 2020 HBO Max is slated to add the libraries of “South Park,” “Gossip Girl,” “The West Wing” and promises more than 2,000 feature films within the first year.
It’s worth noting that HBO has been a longtime Apple partner: When the standalone HBO Now service debuted back in 2015, Apple TV was the exclusive OTT device platform at launch.