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AT&T CEO: HBO Max’s Password-Sharing Policy is ‘Right Way’ to Handle Issue

Matt Tamanini

On Thursday, AT&T announced that during the final quarter under their corporate umbrella, HBO Max added 3 million subscribers to up their worldwide total to 76.8 million.

After the earnings report was released, AT&T CEO John Stankey took questions from analysts and one asked about the difficulties around password-sharing and how the company responded when developing HBO Max. The question was likely spurred by the fact that on Tuesday, Netflix revealed that they believe that 100 million people are using their service without an account of their own and will be taking steps to bring those users into paid plans.

Stankey said that password-sharing was a concern from the very beginning when it came to building the HBO Max platform. But the CEO said that there is a fine line to walk when balancing the user experience as well as the financial realities of the situation. He believes that HBO Max has handled it “the right way.”

“We were thoughtful about how we built the product,” he said. “We were thoughtful about making sure that we give customers enough flexibility, but we don’t want to see rampant abuse. And so I’m not going to go into all the details, but there were a lot of things and features built into the product that are consistent with the user agreement, that has terms and conditions of how they can and can’t use it. And we’ve enforced them obviously in a way that I think has been customer-sensitive.”

To emphasize his point about making sure that the company was not becoming too Draconian in how it polices password-sharing, Stankey pointed to the lack of an outcry over their policy.

“You don’t see anybody complaining massively about it,” he said. “But I can tell you that we actively, in any given month, are looking at how particular users are using the product and have features and capabilities technically to limit what I would call rampant abuse.”

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