Warner Bros. Discovery Gains 2.8 Million Subscribers to Hit 94.9M Globally; Only Added 500K Domestically
Following a tumultuous third quarter, Warner Bros. Discovery revealed its latest earnings report on Thursday. The company is announced that its two streaming platforms, HBO Max and discovery+, combined for a 2.8 million subscriber increase during Q3. That brings the combined streaming customer base for WBD to 94.9 after the company reported a combined 92.1 million users at the end of the second quarter.
WBD stopped reporting separate subscriber numbers for the two services in Q2, which speaks to their plan for merging the two services in 2023. This quarter’s additions mark a year-over-year increase of 5.5M, as HBO Max and discovery+ had a combined 89.4 million subscribers in Q3 of 2021.
Despite the premiere of “Game of Thrones” prequel series “House of the Dragon,” WBD only added 500,000 domestic subscribers over the three-month period, rising from 53M at the end of Q2 to 53.5M. Throughout most of the quarter, HBO Max was also offering a subscription deal that would allow customers to sign up for 40%.
By comparison, HBO Max and discovery+’s subscriber numbers are still no match for the 223M Netflix reported having in Q3. Peacock reported having 15M paid subscribers in Q3, so WBD is still well ahead of NBCUniversal’s service. WBD also leads Paramount+, which saw an increase to 46M paying customers in the third quarter. Disney has not yet reported its Q3 stats, but in Q2, the House of Mouse reported 152.1M on Disney+ and another 46.2M users on Hulu. Apple and Prime Video do not report their subscriber numbers.
To say it’s been a difficult third quarter for Warner Bros. Discovery is an understatement. CEO David Zaslav was given a mandate when Warner Bros. and Discovery merged to come up with at least $3 billion in savings, and he began looking for each and every opportunity to trim budgets and save money almost immediately, often drawing the ire of artists, fans, and media alike.
Industry insiders were stunned when the company decided its $90M “Batgirl” movie would be better as a tax write-off instead of streaming on HBO Max. WBD has given the axe to a large portion of the content on HBO Max, including family favorites like “Sesame Street.”
In an effort to increase revenue from multiple avenues, WBD has reaffirmed its commitment to theatrical movie releases in the last three months. While still under AT&T, WarnerMedia released its entire 2021 film slate on HBO Max on the day and date of its theatrical release. Moving into 2022, the company committed to a 45-day window for theatrically released films to come HBO Max, but that was under former CEO Jason Kilar.
Now, the company is operating on a much more case-by-case basis with its theatrical windowing. “Don’t Worry Darling,” which saw a troubled ramp-up and theatrical release, is headed to HBO Max after 45 days, but the Baz Luhrmann-helmed biopic “Elvis” took 70 days to debut on streaming.
The vibes — and stock price — surrounding WBD got so bad that at one point, many in the industry speculated that the company might be for sale, forcing Zaslav to state unequivocally that it is not. The company remains focused on the launch of a unified HBO Max and discovery+ service, and has an eye toward rolling out a free ad-supported TV (FAST) platform next.
It hasn’t been all bad news for WBD. The company experienced massive success with its “Game of Thrones” prequel series “House of the Dragon,” which saw the largest audience ever for a new HBO series. WBD has also found a financial hit in “Black Adam,” its newest entry in the DC Expanded Universe. The film has taken in nearly $255M at the box office to date.
Speaking of the DCEU, the company has hired director James Gunn and executive Peter Safran to take charge of its comic book movies and series. The company is hoping that the two will be able to revitalize the hugely important, revenue-driving franchise.
HBO Max es un servicio de transmisión de video por suscripción que brinda acceso a la biblioteca completa de HBO, junto con Max Originals exclusivos, y acceso a todas las películas de Warner Bros. en HBO Max poco después de que estén en los cines.
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discovery+ is a video streaming service that offers more than 70,000 episodes of 2,500+ current and classic shows from several popular TV brands including Discovery, Investigation Discovery, HGTV, TLC, Food Network, A&E, Lifetime y History.
The service primarily focuses on non-fiction programming or “reality” TV shows.
discovery+ is available with limited ads for $4.99 / mes or ad-free for $6.99 / mes.