Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Thursday, May 28th, 2020. I'm writing this from the Twin Cities, where AllYourScreens HQ is powered by sweet tea and lollipops.
HBO MAX LAUNCHES, DAY TWO
Not surprisingly, much of the news in the television world today still centers around the launch of the new streaming service HBO Max. And the news basically can be lumped into two categories: customer reaction and the fact HBO Max is still not available to anyone using a Roku or Amazon Fire TV device.
First, the reaction. As you might expect, the initial hot takes are mixed, with some feedback touting the variety of content available on HBO Max at launch and others unhappily pointing out the holes in the content catalog. The nearly 500 classic movies that are part of the TCM-curated hub have been a big hit so far & I think it has been one of the biggest surprises for subscribers. Even though films that are currently airing on TCM aren't generally included in the hub's offerings.
The DC hub seems to be the biggest disappointment for fans, who are comparing HBO Max's efforts to the Marvel universe hub created on Disney+. Disney expended a lot of money and effort trying to extract every Marvel film from existing licensing contracts in order to include as many films as possible for Disney+ when it launched. There were a couple of notable exceptions, but overall the Marvel hub is pretty impressive.
Compare that with HBO Max's DC hub. A number of notable Superman and Batman films are missing as well as several well-known animated titles. While the DC hub does include more than 40 titles, it seems rushed and haphazard to fans. It also makes me wonder if WarnerMedia wouldn't have been better off rolling its current DC Universe streaming service into HBO Max. I know there is some DC Universe content that wouldn't work on a general audience streaming service. But HBO Max would be so much more impressive if it had a completely built out hub devoted to one of WarnerMedia's core collections of intellectual property.
As for the showdown between WarnerMedia and Roku/Amazon, I'm sure that will eventually resolve itself. Disney+ had a similar disagreement with Roku early on. In both cases, the disagreement comes down to money and customer data. Both Roku & Amazon want to be able to sell HBO Max subscriptions and retain customer data along with a slice of the monthly fee. The money part is easier to resolve than the customer data issue. Especially since Amazon reportedly wants to retain customer data and not share it with HBO Max. But at the end of the day, both sides will decide they need to work it out.
THIS IS NOT HELPFUL
When it comes to trying to parse out whether or not the HBO Max launch has been successful, industry analysts tend not to be all that much help. Consider these comments provided to AllYourScreens by Danyaal Rashid, Thematic Analyst at GlobalData. He manages to say a lot of words without really providing any clarity:
HBO Max is launching at a time when the subscription video on demand (SVOD) market is becoming increasingly saturated. New services from Disney, Apple and NBCUniversal (Peacock) have all been released in the past six months, so HBO Max will need to pack a real punch to break through to the consumer.
Despite growing competition in the SVOD market, the surge in streaming uptake during the COVID-19 pandemic ensures there will still be plenty of room for HBO Max to grow. Consumers are generally willing to subscribe to multiple services in order to gain access to their favourite shows, and HBO Max has an extensive content library. The platform launches with more than 10,000 hours of premium content, including exclusive access to Friends and Game of Thrones. This puts it in a strong position to compete, and its exclusive rights to HBO content will force competitors to invest further in their own original programming.
However, the price of the platform may be an obstacle to its expansion. At $14.99 a month, the price far exceeds both Disney+ ($6.99) or Netflix’s basic offering ($8.99). However, the cost is the same as a HBO subscription on cable, and existing subscribers through external platforms, such as Hulu, will gain access for free. There are also rumours of a cheaper ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) version in the works that will be sure to stoke consumer anticipation and take on Peacock’s ad-supported tiers.
Gee, thanks for nothing.
AND IN THE LEAST SURPRISING MEDIA STORY OF THE DAY
Bloomberg is reporting that short-form mobile video service Quibi is revamping its programming strategy and canceling production on some upcoming shows:
The rocky start is forcing executives to ponder its strengths. The initial audience for Quibi has been older and more female than executives anticipated, the people said. Two of the most popular shows have been "The Rachel Hollis Show," a daily program hosted by the titular author and motivational speaker, and "Chrissy’s Court," a courtroom comedy where “Judge” Chrissy Teigen resolves petty disputes. News programs from NBC have also found an audience.
My favorite piece of spin in the article is this bit, which is the perfect example of someone trying to put the best possible spin on a bad situation:
One bright spot is most people who start watching a Quibi show typically finish the episode, a person close to the company said. The completion rate is more than 80%, higher than on other platforms, said the person. But that may not be much of a surprise since Quibi shows are less than 10 minutes long, and a Netflix episode can be more than an hour.
MORE SPORTS COMING TO CBS ALL-ACCESS
I have to admit that I still find the overall programming philosophy at CBS All-Access to be confusing. But this is certainly a bit of good news for the streaming service. The National Women’s Soccer League said late yesterday that it has finalized plans to play a 25-game tournament in Utah for all nine of its teams beginning in late June. Details are the schedule still have to be worked out, but all of the games will be streamed live on CBS All-Access.
DON'T WATCH THIS...SERIOUSLY, DON'T WATCH
This era of peak TV has brought us a lot of bad television. But I can't recall a bigger and more annoying waste of resources than "Gary Busey: Pet Judge," a new series on Amazon Prime Video show I reviewed late yesterday.
Here is a rundown of the new shows premiering today....
1) Confessional (Shudder)
After two mysterious deaths at a college on the same night, seven students are blackmailed into revealing what they know inside a hidden confession booth. Their confessions unveil the truth—not just about the deaths, but about the confessional as well.
2) Dorohedoro (Netflix)
Amnesiac Caiman seeks to undo his lizard head curse by killing the sorcerer responsible, with his friend Nikaido's help. In the Hole, that's a threat.
3) Intuition (La corazonada) (Netflix)
"La Corazonada" tells the story of Manuela Pelari, Pipa (Luisana Lopilato), who begins her career as a police detective. Working alongside with her mentor, the controversial detective Francisco Juánez (Joaquín Furriel), together they must solve the violent murder of a 19 year old girl when all the clues point to the fact that she was murdered by her best friend. At the same time, Pipa will have another difficult mission, to secretly investigate the murder of a young boy where her boss Juanez seems to be guilty.
4) Questlove's Potluck (Food)
This entirely remotely-shot production will bring friends together as they virtually share their favorite foods and drinks that are bringing them and their families joy while sheltering at home. Audiences can see what delicious dishes and drinks are being served in the home kitchens of Bun B., Hannibal Buress, Zooey Deschanel and Jonathan Scott, Ashley Graham, Tiffany Haddish, Patti LaBelle, Eva Longoria, George Lopez, Amy Schumer and her husband chef Chris Fischer, Kenan Thompson, Tariq Trotter, Gabrielle Union, Olivia Wilde, and Roy Wood Jr.
5) Who Killed the Co-Ed?: An ID Mystery (ID)
19-year-old University of North Carolina college student Faith Hedgepeth is found brutally murdered in her off-campus apartment after going out with her roommate the previous night. Evidence at the scene leads police to believe she knew her killer. The murderer left behind a cryptic note, the murder weapon and even DNA, but over six years later, the case is still not solved. As suspicions mount, a voicemail from the night of Faith’s death proves to be a promising lead for investigators. With groundbreaking new forensic technologies put to the test, investigators and Faith’s family are confident they will finally find out who killed Faith.
For a rundown of all the new episodes of television premiering tonight, click here.
TOO MUCH TV REALLY IS A THING
This newsletter is called "Too Much TV" because....well, it's hard to keep track of all the new television premiering everyday. To help you prioritize your viewing, click here to see our list of more than 400 upcoming television premieres, movies and finales. You'll find listings from more than 70 networks, as well as streaming services and web shows.
If you'd like to get this daily feature as an email, subscribe to our free daily "Too Much TV" newsletter here