While many Australians likely weren't keen on another streaming service entering the country, HBO Max sounded like a worthwhile offering and for a moment, it looked like it might be coming to Australia. For good or bad, Foxtel has announced its landed the HBO Max deal so you're going to have to sign up if you want a piece of the HBO pie.
What is HBO Max?
HBO is one of the US's biggest television network and is responisble for some of the most critically acclaimed shows in the past few decades. To its name, it has Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, Westworld, The Wire, Veep, True Detective and Chernobyl so it's a pretty big deal in the entertainment scene.
While it already has two streaming services in the US — HBO Now and HBO Go — it's now added its own fully-fledged offering called HBO Max, which has now been released in the States.
Where the others were offshoots of its cable subscription deal, HBO Max will be a complete competitor including its own original programming for the service.
Why is Foxtel getting HBO Max content?
Foxtel has already been the home of most HBO shows in Australia with Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, Westworld, The Wire, Veep, True Detective and Chernobyl all exclusively available on the service among many more popular titles.
On 6 May, it was revealed that Foxtel and WarnerMedia, HBO's parent company, had entered a deal that would see HBO Max content delivered through the service.
"We look forward to the promise that this deal will offer between Foxtel and WarnerMedia, be it in the delight of audiences continuing to enjoy the quality and first-rate programming of HBO and HBO Max, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, the highly-respected journalistic excellence of CNN, award-winning and popular box-office hits from Warner Bros. or first-time access to fan favorites Friends and The Big Bang Theory," Warner Bros. Worldwide executive Jeffrey R. Schlesinger said in a press release.
"We also applaud Foxtel's commitment to local production in Australia and look forward to developing an impressive slate of programs."
So if you were hoping for HBO to release a standalone streaming service locally so you could avoid a Foxtel subscription, the latest news means you're fresh out of luck.
Original content HBO Max to look forward to
We're probably all pretty familiar with HBO's award-winning shows and while those will remain available on Foxtel, a new slate of content is set to be released by HBO Max too.
To give you a little taste, here's some of the shows it's set to release or has in the works:
- Adventure Time: Distant Lands
- Aquaman: King of Atlantis
- Crime Farm
- DC Super Hero High
- Doom Patrol
- Dune: The Sisterhood
- Generation Hustle
- Good Vibes Only
- Gossip Girl (Reboot)
- Grease: Rydell High
- Green Lantern
- Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai
- Justice League Dark
- Made for Love
- On the Record
- Raised by Wolves
- Station Eleven
- Strange Adventures
- The Boondocks
- The Flight Attendant
- The Gordita Chronicles
- The Griswolds
- The Uninhabitable Earth
- Tokyo Vice
- White House Farm
Lifehacker Australia has contacted Foxtel to confirm whether Australians will be getting HBO Max on the same day it releases on the service in the United States. We'll update this article when it responds.
There are currently four main streaming services in Australia: Netflix, Stan, Foxtel Now and Amazon Prime Video. There's also Apple TV+ and - in a few short days - Disney Plus. But that's not all. In addition to all of the above, there are smaller, more niche services like Hayu, 10 All Access and YouTube Premium - all of which contain original programming you can't watch anywhere else.
UPDATE: 28 May 2020: This story has been updated to reflect the release of HBO Max in the States.