AT&T is turning the Audience Network, a linear channel that runs on DirecTV, into a marketing outlet for its soon-to-launch subscription streaming service, HBO Max, the telecom confirmed.
Meanwhile, according to published reports, four original series on the network will also be moved to the new streaming service. The moves will reportedly be made sometime in the spring. (HBO Max will launch in May.)
"We will begin to transition Audience Network from its current approach to support AT&T’s broader original content and marketing focus on the upcoming HBO Max service,” said Daniel York, chief content officer for AT&T Consumer, in a statement. “I am proud and grateful to the team at Audience for their many successes over the years, creating unique, fresh and provocative content along with our great studio partners. Twenty years ago, we were the first pay TV provider to differentiate our content offering with the best exclusive original content, and the team truly brought to life the network vision: Always original, Never ordinary.”
According to unnamed sources cited by Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, dramas Mr. Mercedes (produced by David E. Kelley) and Condor and comedies Loudermilk and You Me Her will likely move to HBO Max, but no formal decision has been made.
The Audience Network’s roots date back to November 1999, when it launched as Freeview, a service on DirecTV channel 103 carrying a continuous loop of concerts and other events. In 2005, the channel was moved to 101 on the satellite operator’s guide and rebranded as the 101 Network, before assuming its current moniker in 2011.
Pre acquisition by AT&T, DirecTV dabbled with the idea of major investment for the channel, notably partnering with NBC Studios in 2007, and acquiring the rights to continue the original series Damages from FX in 2010.