AT&T added 2.7 million new prospects to HBO and HBO Max in the primary quarter, a enhance for the corporate’s new streaming effort in an more and more crowded subject.
The firm’s WarnerMedia division, which incorporates HBO, recorded $eight.5 billion in income for the interval, a 9.eight % soar over final 12 months, when theater gross sales and promoting income plummeted in the course of the pandemic. Led by the chief govt Jason Kilar, WarnerMedia additionally consists of the cable networks CNN and Turner and the Warner Bros. movie studios.
HBO is the cornerstone of AT&T’s media technique, and the corporate sees HBO Max as a method to maintain its cellular prospects from fleeing, providing the streaming platform at a low cost to its telephone subscribers.
In its report on the 12 months’s first quarter, AT&T stopped disclosing the variety of lively HBO Max customers, obscuring how many individuals are literally tuned into the brand new streaming service.
Over all, AT&T counted 44.1 million subscribers to HBO and HBO Max in the United States on the finish of March, a acquire of two.7 million from the earlier quarter. Before it stopped breaking out the HBO Max subscriptions, in December, it mentioned it had 41.5 million subscribers: 17.1 million for the streaming service, 20 million for HBO on cable and the remaining from lodges or different offers.
HBO Max probably drove the acquire in the quarter, which is notable given how aggressive the streaming universe has develop into. HBO Max can also be the most costly of the most important streaming platforms, at $15 a month. Netflix, which reported earnings on Tuesday, remains the leader, with 67 million customers in the United States and nearly 208 million in total.
Netflix’s dominance has started to wane, in part because of newer entrants like HBO Max and Disney+. Netflix added four million new subscribers in the quarter, with a little more than 400,000 in the United States.
Netflix chalked up the comparatively sluggish growth to the production slowdown when Hollywood studios largely stopped making shows and films during the pandemic. The company said it expected a more successful second half of the year, when returning favorites and highly anticipated films become available.
HBO Max most likely got a boost from an unorthodox strategy championed by Mr. Kilar: The sibling company Warner Bros. plans to release its entire lineup of 2021 films on HBO Max on the same day they’re scheduled to appear in theaters. The announcement rumbled throughout Hollywood, angering agents and filmmakers who stood to lose out on crucial bonuses and commissions by short-circuiting the old theatrical release schedule.
Mr. Kilar has said the company was likely to go back to a more traditional distribution plan next year. For the rest of 2021, he is counting on the film slate — which included the recent releases of “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” and “Godzilla vs. Kong,” as well as the Friday premiere of “Mortal Kombat” — to help drive people to HBO Max.
The company also plans a global expansion of HBO Max starting in June, along with a lower-cost version of the service that will include commercials. The company has about 19.7 million HBO customers overseas who it hopes to convert into HBO Max subscribers.