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AT&T to launch streaming service, latest to counter Netflix

© AFP/File | AT&T's new unit WarnerMedia, which inlcudes the recently acquired media-entertainment giant Time Warner, will launch a consumer streaming service in 2019

WASHINGTON (AFP) - 

AT&T's WarnerMedia said Wednesday it will launch a direct-to-consumer streaming service in late 2019, becoming the latest challenger to fast-growing operators such as Netflix and Amazon.

The US telecom giant, which recently acquired media-entertainment conglomerate Time Warner, said the new service would launch in the fourth quarter of 2019.

The announcement offered no details on the plan, but John Stankey, who heads the new division created by AT&T, said that "we are committed to launching a compelling and competitive product."

With the acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T will have access to a large trove of films, series, documentaries and cartoons from the Warner Bros studios, Turner Broadcasting and HBO, which already has a streaming service.

"We expect to create such a compelling product that it will help distributors increase consumer penetration of their current packages and help us successfully reach more customers," Stankey said.

The move comes as rival media giant Disney is preparing to launch its own streaming service for general content following the debut of its ESPN sports service.

Other challengers to market leaders Netflix, Hulu and Amazon will be services from Apple, Facebook and Google-owned YouTube, all of which deliver content over the internet.

AT&T closed its $85 billion deal for Time Warner in June, days after a judge rejected an antitrust challenge from the Trump administration.

An appeal of the case by the US Justice Department is still pending.

© 2018 AFP