HBO Max reveals its price tag, and the NCAA does an about-face: Wednesday Wake-Up Call
All about HBO Max
Does the “Max” in HBO Max’s brand name refer to its big price tag? Viewers will be asked to shell out $14.99 a month when it debuts in May 2020. Ad Age’s Anthony Crupi describes the price as “steroidal”—it’s more than double what Disney+ will charge and $2 more than what Netflix asks for a standard plan. Granted, WarnerMedia’s HBO Max will have a lot of content: 10,000 hours at launch. It will air everything from classic “Friends” episodes to Harry Potter movies to “House of the Dragon,” a show set three centuries before the action of “Game of Thrones.” Of course, there’s another way of looking at this: It’s the same price as linear HBO, but you get a lot more to watch.
Also worth noting: An ad-supported tier of HBO Max is coming—presumably at a cheaper rate. But it doesn’t launch until 2021. (Sorry, advertisers.)
The NCAA relents
The NCAA made a move that could eventually pave the way for college athletes to make money from their personal brands. College sports’ governing body has always opposed this kind of idea, but it’s under pressure from sports stars and from California’s plans to let student athletes sign endorsement deals. Bloomberg News reports:
The organization’s board voted unanimously to have its three divisions consider bylaw and policy changes that let students market themselves. Still, the process will take time: The board set a deadline of January 2021 for changing the rules.
One thing isn’t up for negotiation. The association says that though players might one day profit from the use of their name, image and likeness, “compensation for athletics performance or participation is impermissible.”
Edelman vs. Heimann
If PR leaders Richard Edelman and Gail Heimann could ask each other anything, what would they say? Ad Age’s Brian Braiker and Judann Pollack set up a conversation between the CEO of family-owned Edelman and the CEO of Weber Shandwick, which is owned by Interpublic Group of Cos.; here’s a just a snippet of their chat:
GH: So what’s the Edelman 2030 agenda going to be?
RE: We’ll still be independent. Hopefully one of my kids will be ready to take over by then, let’s see. Or maybe all of them. I watched “Succession” ...
GH: I was going to ask!
RE: I’m not turning my kids against each other. That is sure. That is not happening. Jesus, what a snake pit.
Read the full interview for other thoughts, including the benefits of independence versus the holding company model. Fun fact: Heimann started her career as an intern at Edelman.
M&A watch: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Peugeot maker PSA Group are talking about combining in “a deal that could create a roughly $46 billion trans-Atlantic auto giant,” The Wall Street Journal reports.
Out: Craig Brommers, “chief marketing officer of embattled Juul Labs, is leaving the company as part of a broad restructuring plan that also includes the suspension of all broadcast, print and digital product advertising in the U.S.,” Bloomberg News reports.
Stephen Colbert vs. the Hallmark Channel: “Christmas Barista,” “A Very Puppy Christmas,” “Santa Goes Hawaiian” — are those real Hallmark Channel holiday movies, or fake titles dreamed up by Stephen Colbert? Watch this segment from “The Late Show” to find out.
Podcast of the day: Gap Chief Marketing Officer Alegra O’Hare explains why the brand decided against a TV spot and went all-in on digital this year for its holiday campaign. Listen to her conversation with Adrianne Pasquarelli on the Ad Age Marketer’s Brief podcast; subscribe on iTunes or Spotify. And meanwhile check out the new holiday ad from Gap Inc.’s Old Navy: It stars Neil Patrick Harris stealing one of Oprah’s famous lines.
Ad of the day: It’s almost Movember, when men grow mustaches in support of male health issues. And Billie, the razor brand, wants to point out that women have mustaches too. Its new ad features a slew of women who are totally comfortable wearing their natural fuzz. “We’re hoping to destigmatize upper lip hair and empower women to feel confident with having hair there,” Billie founder Georgina Gooley says. The company is also donating to the Movember movement. Check out the video, and read more by Ad Age’s Ann-Christine Diaz.
Get tickets for Ad Age Publishing: Next, our half-day conference on Nov. 14 in Manhattan, featuring speakers from New York Media, Cosmopolitan, Essence, Condé Nast, The Washington Post and more. Learn more here.