Sunday, January 23, 2022

HBO Max is doing nice, according to HBO Max

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AT&T’s newest subscriber figures make it seem to be HBO and its sister service HBO Max are doing fairly properly — nice, even! In a regulatory submitting this week, AT&T revealed that it beat its projected year-end purpose with 73.8 million whole subscribers between HBO and HBO Max (even after its breakup with Amazon). Not too unhealthy, proper?

But that win comes after a yr of extremely anticipated film debuts meant to balloon subscriber numbers, and it’s nonetheless tens of hundreds of thousands of subscribers behind rivals like Disney Plus and Netflix. The numbers additionally include some fairly huge caveats. In different phrases, maintain the applause.

For one, AT&T’s figures (earlier reported by Variety) conflate two separate companies — HBO, its cable, and HBO Max, its streaming service — and so they don’t distinguish what number of subscribers every service has individually. WarnerMedia spokesperson Jaclyn Mandelbaum instructed The Verge that extra info “will be broken out in AT&T’s earnings in a couple weeks” however declined to specify figures for every service.

AT&T’s progress additionally appears much less spectacular given the high-profile content material slate it served during the last yr, together with titles like Dune, The Matrix Resurrections, and the third season of Succession. On prime of that, HBO Max added a lower-priced tier and launched internationally partway via the yr — each of which ought to have helped enhance its subscribers considerably.

Disney Plus added greater than twice as many subscribers over an identical time interval. Disney’s streaming service, which launched roughly six months earlier than HBO Max, reported 118.1 million paid subscribers as of October 2021, up from 73.7 million a few yr earlier. HBO’s 73.8 million document, then again, is solely up from 61 million subscribers globally on the finish of 2020.

Streaming knowledge is just about unattainable to deal with on a one-for-one comparability degree for myriad causes, not the least of which being that everybody is enjoying by totally different guidelines. That’s to say nothing of how piracy, account-sharing, and options like auto-play can considerably skew a really correct image of subscriber and title success.

Last yr ought to’ve been HBO Max’s yr to win. It’s going to have to discover new methods to develop with out the assistance of a extremely anticipated day-and-date slate.

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