WarnerMedia’s reported plans for its new video streaming service make for a good example of why business is so interesting.
The Wall Street Journal says the AT&T unit intends to launch a service to house all its properties for $16 or $17 a month. That’s more than twice the price of the new Disney+ and far above Netflix but barely more than what its HBO unit’s streaming service already charges. In other words, if The Journal is correct, AT&T intends to offer all the family’s jewels for a tad more than it charges today for one prized property.
There are more surprises still. Industry watchers had expected a tiered-pricing strategy, a good/better/best approach. Instead, AT&T appears to have chosen a one-size-fits-all price. Also, while AT&T is said to be considering selling advertising against its shows down the road, as Comcast’s NBCUniversal plans to do, for now it is going the no-ads route of Disney+ and Netflix. “They were telling me how they were going to cash in on targeted advertising with an [Internet streaming] service,” Fortune’s Geoff Colvin wrote me Thursday afternoon. He’s referring to his extensive interviews with AT&T executives for his recent feature on the company.
All the major players know they can’t all win here. Consumers simply won’t support unlimited subscription services. Again, that’s why business is a glorious competition. There will be losers.
I sat courtside at a Golden State Warriors basketball game for precisely one quarter of one game in my life. A friend had received tickets from the late Dave Goldberg, a spot along the out-of-bounds line known as “the Goldie seats,” and he asked me to join him briefly. It was exhilarating.