Warner Bros. have announced a new streaming service called HBO Max, but this is not expected to affect their other platform, DC Universe. Launching back in September last year, DC Universe offers superhero fans a hub for DC's television and movie output. In addition to the catalog of older material on offer, DC Universe has also premiered a number of original productions such as Titans, Doom Patrol and Swamp Thing, with plenty more on the way and thousands of DC comics, all priced at a monthly subscription fee of $7.99 per month.
Yesterday (July 9th), Warner Bros. announced another new streaming service was set to launch, containing content from across the company's range of properties, not confined to the superhero genre. Revealed under the title HBO Max, the new service comes as part of Warner's attempt to restructure their business towards a more streaming-friendly model and is intended to compete with Netflix in the monthly subscription stakes. HBO Max will include the likes of Friends and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air but, interestingly, will also feature a selection of properties from DC Entertainment, casting doubt over the future of the specialized DC Universe service.
According to a report from THR, WarnerMedia's current streaming services, including DC Universe, will "remain as-is" for the foreseeable future, however, there is a possibility that situation could change in the future.
Although the official word currently suggests that HBO Max will not impact DC Universe, it's difficult to see how that setup can continue in the long-term. Doom Patrol is currently available on DC Universe but is now also being listed on HBO Max, and consumers will have no desire to pay out for two services that host a crossover in content. Since HBO Max seems likely to be set at a higher monthly price point than DC Universe, it's possible that the superhero service could offer more specialized material for those who are most interested in Batman and Robin than Ross and Rachel, but for less than it would cost to sign up to the more generalized HBO Max.
However, this presents problems of its own, as HBO Max is advertising major DC projects such as Batwoman and the 2017 Justice League movie, neither of which are currently slated to stream on DC Universe. Therefore, even if there was an audience of superhero fans solely interested in Warner Bros.' DC output, a subscription to DC Universe wouldn't guarantee they'd have access to all of the upcoming comic book-bared fare.
Considering DC Universe isn't even a year old, the doubt HBO Max has cast over its existence is not particularly promising and although it remains to be seen exactly how Warner Bros. will distribute their superhero content, it would feel highly questionable to spread DC material over two separate streaming services when DC Universe has already been established as a dedicated platform for that genre.
HBO Max is expected to launch in early 2020.