WarnerMedia just bought a $500 million weapon to fight Netflix: J.J. Abrams

It’s already difficult to choose which streaming services to subscribe to — and it’s about to get even worse. WarnerMedia is on the verge of closing a $500 million deal with Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker director J.J. Abrams’ production company, Bad Robot, in the hope of giving you a very good reason to subscribe to its upcoming streaming service — and not its rivals’.

The deal will keep Abrams, the man behind hit shows like Alias, Lost, and Fringe and the Cloverfield movies, at WarnerMedia for the foreseeable future. The Hollywood Reporter doesn’t say how long the exclusive WarnerMedia and Bad Robot partnership will last, but notes that WarnerMedia’s streaming plans helped the company seal the deal.

Currently, Abrams produces Westworld for WarnerMedia’s HBO, and is developing Lovecraft Country and an original sci-fi drama, Demimonde, for the premium network.

For streamers, Abrams’ presence makes WarnerMedia’s upcoming service an attractive proposition. Previous reports indicated that the service will include a full HBO subscription, access to the Warner Bros. feature film lineup, which includes films like The Lord of the Rings and a whole slate of DC superhero flicks, and a collection of original programming for around $17 a month. The service is expected to enter beta later this year, and launch in earnest in 2020.

Abrams’ involvement makes it clear that WarnerMedia is serious about wooing customers away from Netflix, the upcoming Disney Plus, and Hulu. Abrams is one of the hottest names in entertainment, and WarnerMedia had to outbid the likes of Apple, Sony, Amazon, and Netflix itself to keep Bad Robot in the fold.

WarnerMedia isn’t the only company hoping to get your streaming dollars by signing one of your favorite content creators. Netflix has already signed Glee and American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy to a $300 million deal, and nabbed Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes services for $150 million. Other services, like Disney Plus, are relying on top-tier franchises like Marvel and Star Wars in order to attract subscribers.

If this trend continues, your favorite stuff to watch will soon be locked behind a bunch of competing streaming plans, and you’ll need to make some hard choices. You can either use our guides to decide which services to keep and which ones to skip, or you can pony up and subscribe to all of them. If you really want to watch everything, it’s the only way.

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