HBO Max reached 4.1M subscribers in first month, despite lack of distribution on Roku and Fire TV

HBO Max reached 4.1M subscribers in first month, despite lack of distribution on Roku and Fire TV

HBO Max, the AT&T-owned streaming service that mixes HBO with WarnerMedia content material, has grown to 4.1 million subscribers, since its launch on May 27. Combined, HBO and HBO Max reached a complete of 36.three million U.S. subscribers by the tip of the second quarter, in keeping with statements made by AT&T CEO John Stankey on right this moment’s earnings name. That determine has grown 5% from the 34.6 million subscribers the properties collectively had on the finish of final yr.

The 4.1 million determine breaks down as round three million retail subscribers and over 1 million have been wholesale subscribers who got here to the brand new service by way of one among AT&T wi-fi plans, the place the service is bundled.

Though it’s nonetheless early days for HBO Max, these numbers point out that the overwhelming majority of conventional HBO clients haven’t but tried HBO Max, regardless that it’s free for them to make use of. Currently, HBO clients can authenticate with HBO Max utilizing their cable or satellite tv for pc TV supplier account data. HBO Now subscribers, in the meantime, are robotically upgraded to Max throughout Hulu, cell apps, choose ISPs, and the HBO Now web site.

The HBO technique, from a shopper perspective, has been complicated. HBO is named premium channel with principally grownup content material. This chanel had been distributed throughout cell units as HBO GO for conventional pay TV clients and HBO Now for over-the-top customers. With the launch of HBO Max, the purpose has been to rework HBO right into a broader providing for the entire household, much like Netflix. To accomplish that, HBO, WarnerMedia and different licensed content material was mixed beneath one roof.

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AT&T mentioned right this moment that HBO Max clients spent, on common, 70% extra time viewing the service on a weekly foundation, in contrast with HBO Now. It additionally pressured the recognition of its unique content material, noting that every one 6 of its new originals discovered themselves ranked among the many high 25 seen sequence on the platform. By August, HBO Max could have 21 new unique sequence on the platform.

But WarnerMedia nonetheless desires to distribute “normal” HBO to its bigger, current buyer base, and has a lot of offers in place to take action throughout quite a lot of streaming TV companies, like Hulu, and platforms, like Apple TV, along with quite a few pay TV suppliers. In addition, HBO is offered as an add-on premium subscription throughout some platforms, like Amazon and Roku.

That makes it tough for customers to know which model of HBO they will get and the place it’ll work.

That vital problem is made worse by the truth that WarnerMedia has not but been in a position to ink offers for HBO Max with the 2 high streaming media platform suppliers within the U.S.: Amazon and Roku, which management 70% of the market. That means customers who’ve heard of the brand new service received’t be capable of discover the app on these units.

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Stankey addressed this drawback right this moment when chatting with buyers.

“We’ve tried repeatedly to make HBO Max accessible to all clients utilizing Amazon Fire units, together with these clients which have bought HBO by way of Amazon,” he mentioned. “Unfortunately, Amazon has taken an method of treating HBO Max and its clients in another way than how they’ve chosen to deal with different companies, and their clients.”

The feedback, which notably skip over any point out of Roku, come solely days earlier than Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is ready to testify earlier than the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, together with CEOs from Apple, Google and Facebook, as a part of the Committee’s ongoing investigation of potential anti-competitive practices within the digital market.

One space of concern for the Committee is the ability and management the tech corporations have over their digital marketplaces, the place they set phrases, ban apps and companies from distribution, and take commissions from companies that compete with their very own.

AT&T’s difficulty with Amazon, on this case, has to do with the way it desires to distribute HBO Max throughout the media platforms. With its shift in technique, AT&T goals to supply customers a standalone app, much like Netflix — because it does now on Apple TV and Android TV. But Amazon and Roku need to additionally promote subscriptions to HBO Max like they at the moment do for HBO by means of the Amazon Prime Video Channels platform and Roku’s Premium Subscription platform on The Roku Channel.

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With Roku’s funding in The Roku Channel it’s been distancing itself from being the impartial platform it as soon as was, because it’s now motivated to make offers that profit its personal targets round The Roku Channel’s subscription market, the identical as different non-neutral gamers, like Amazon. This just isn’t an issue distinctive to HBO Max, both. NBCU’s new streaming service Peacock additionally failed to supply Roku and Fire TV assist at launch, for related causes. Unfortunately, the buyer is the one who in the end loses right here as tech giants grapple over not solely the {dollars}, however who will personal the client relationship in the long term.

Without distribution, AT&T’s WarnerMedia could possibly be challenged to satisfy its targets for HBO Max.

The firm, nonetheless, claims it’s nonetheless on monitor for 50-55 million HBO Max subscribers in the usby 2025. As a part of this technique, WarnerMedia additionally plans to launch HBO Max internationally and supply a lower-cost, as-supported model of the service someday subsequent yr.



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