Today at CES, Jeremy Legg, CTO, WarnerMedia and Andy Forssell, EVP & GM, WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer discussed the upcoming streaming service, HBO Max. While some details were scant due to a current “quiet period,” there were a few interesting bits of information put forth. Perhaps most notably is HBO Max’s focus on creating a UI that makes it easier for users to discover new content that’s relevant to them.
Legg said that the unser interfaces of other streaming services haven’t done a good job of helping you find something new. HBO MAX will do a better job of curating, not an endless set of tiles of content.
Forssell continued, saying that HBO Max will have special collections of content to make it easier to dive into a show. He went on to use the example of a collection of holiday-themed Friends episodes. This addresses a common complaint for other streaming services, that it’s almost as if they make it hard to find new content on purpose (as detailed in this reddit thread).
They also went on to discuss how HBO Max will have brand hubs like CW and CNN to make it easy to get to that content. This is similar to the way Disney+ has its Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar hubs up top.
HBO MAX will also have social features, including recommendations from other viewers and/or HBO talent, with actors recommending content they like for you to view. This should further help viewers find new content worth watching.
Legg and Forssell were also asked about streaming glitches. Would we have to worry about the app crashing or glitching upon release, similar to what happened with Disney+? And while they wouldn’t guarantee they wouldn’t experience any growing pains at the start, they did point to the fact that the technology is already running live and being refined with HBO NOW.
It will be interesting to see how things pan out with so many new streaming services joining the fray in 2020. HBO is well-positioned to make a splash, despite a crowded playing field We’ll keep you up-to-date on the latest developments, and how they will affect the future of cord cutting.