AT&T added 2.7 million new customers to HBO and HBO Max in the first quarter, a boost to the company’s new streaming effort in an increasingly crowded sector.
The company’s WarnerMedia division, which includes HBO, recorded revenue of $ 8.5 billion during this period, up 9.8% year-on-year, as theatrical and ad revenue plummeted during pandemic. Led by CEO Jason Kilar, WarnerMedia also includes cable TV networks CNN and Turner and Warner Bros. studios.
HBO is the cornerstone of AT & T’s communications strategy, and the company sees HBO Max as a way to keep its mobile customers on the run, offering a streaming platform at a discount to its phone subscribers. .
In its report on the first quarter of the year, AT&T stopped reporting the number of active HBO Max users, obscuring the number of people actually following the new streaming service.
Overall, AT&T counted 44.1 million HBO and HBO Max subscribers in the US as of the end of March, up 2.7 million from the previous quarter. Before they stopped breaking HBO Max subscriptions, in December they reported a total of 41.5 million subscribers, including 17.1 million for streaming, 20 million for HBO on cable, and the rest came from hotels or other transactions.
It’s likely that HBO Max drove the gains this quarter, which is noteworthy due to how competitive the streaming universe has become. HBO Max is also the most expensive among the various major streaming platforms, at $ 15 a month. Netflix, the company that reported earnings on Tuesday, remains the leader, with 67 million customers in the US and close to 208 million in total.
Netflix’s dominance has begun to wane, in part due to newer companies like HBO Max and Disney +. Netflix added four million new subscribers during the quarter, with more than 400,000 in the US
Netflix has seen relatively slow growth with a production slowdown that occurred as Hollywood studios largely stopped producing new shows and movies during the pandemic. The company says it looks forward to a more successful second half of the year, when favorite movies return and highly anticipated movies become available.
In HBO Max’s case, the live stream could have been driven from an unorthodox strategy promoted by Mr. Kilar: Warner Bros. Brothers Company. plans to release the full 2021 series on HBO Max on the same day they are scheduled to appear in theaters. The announcement went viral throughout Hollywood, angering agents and filmmakers who lost important bonuses and commissions by ignoring old theatrical release schedules.
Mr. Kilar said the company will likely revert to a more traditional distribution plan starting next year. For the remainder of 2021, he’s relying on the movie – including recent releases of “Zach Snyder’s Justice League” and “Godzilla vs.” Kong, ”as well as the Friday premiere of“ Mortal Kombat ”- to help propel people to HBO Max.
The company also plans to expand HBO Max globally starting this June, along with a lower-cost service version that will include advertising. The company has around 19.7 million overseas HBO customers and hopes to convert into HBO Max subscribers.