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Theatrical Releases Boost HBO and HBO Max to 44.2 Million Subscribers, Adding 2.7 Million in Q1 2021

Jason Gurwin

AT&T is seeing the success of bringing their theatrical slate directly to HBO Max the same day.

After launching films like “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Wonder Woman 1984”, HBO Max and HBO reached 44.2 million subscribers, up from 41.5 million subscribers at the end of 2020. In total the company has added 11.1 million subscribers since Q1 2020.

Of the 44.2 million, HBO Max contributes 40.6 million of that, with nearly 31 million coming through third-parties like cable operators and streaming services, with 9.6 million coming directly through HBO Max. Most dramatically, HBO subscribers dropped to just 55K (from 5.6 million in Q3 2020) – mostly as those signed-up through Roku and Fire TV were transitioned to HBO Max.

WarnerMedia has seen Direct-to-Consumer revenues from 30% over the last year to $1.8 billion in Q1 2021, with an average revenue per subscriber at ~$12.

HBO Max also benefited from the fact that they reached deals to bring the platform to Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices in the quarter. Those two platforms reach over 100 million streamers.

Globally, HBO says they have 63.9 million total subscribers, up from 53.8 million a year ago. They plan to launch in 60 international markets by the end of 2021.

Netflix, by comparison, announced yesterday that they had surpassed 208 million subscribers globally with nearly 74.4 million in the U.S. and Canada, however they had their softest quarter in years. The company missed subscriber targets by 33% and only expects to add 1 million new subscribers next quarter.

Disney is approaching half that number with a global 100 million subscribers on the newer Disney+. Hulu’s resting at 39.4 million subscribers, while NBCU’s Peacock had 33 million sign-ups as of January.

Going forward, HBO Max is betting that new release movies will continue driving new subscribers to the service. In December, the company announced that their entire 2021 slate will debut on HBO Max, the same day as theaters. But starting in 2022, they will reintroduce a 45 day theatrical window for Warner Bros. films.

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