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HBO Max, Discovery+ Could Become Second Biggest Streaming Service

Lauren Forristal

The recently announced merger of discovery+ and HBO Max just goes to show that consolidating streaming services will only bring more success. According to mobile data of monthly active users (MAU) from Apptopia, HBO Max-Discovery+ is poised to become the No. 2 streaming service in terms of market share.

Separately, HBO Max’s U.S. market share by MAU over the past six months was 10.4%, whereas discovery+ was only 2.1%, bringing the total to 12.5%. While Netflix blew everyone out of the water at 48%, Disney+ had 9.6%.

In terms of market share by IAP (in-app purchase) revenue in the same amount of time, discovery+ and HBO Max (30.7%) triumphed over Netflix (5.7%). This is due to the fact that Netflix stopped accepting new IAP revenue in December 2018 and all of its current revenue-generating subscribers on mobile were grandfathered in. The company would easily be at the top for IAP revenue if it had continued to accept store payments.

Peacock (15.2%), Netflix (15.9%), and Disney+ (16.2%) were neck in neck for market share by downloads in the U.S. Meanwhile, HBO Max and Discovery+ were at a combined 19.5%, however, the vast majority of that number is coming exclusively from HBO Max.

Looking at app user reviews, HBO Max has the lowest Apptopia Sentiment Score (53%) while Discovery+ has the highest (83%). In the past six months, 35.8% of all reviews left had “Performance” and “Bugs” as the biggest complaints among HBO Max users. So hopefully whatever the eventually integrated platform looks like, it will address these types of concerns.

From a pure subscriber count, HBO Max and Discovery+ would come close to 100 million, which is 30 million shy of Disney+. So will this merger finally prompt Disney to think about consolidating Hulu with Disney+?

About three weeks ago, at the Deutsche Bank Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference, Discovery CFO Gunnar Wiedenfels said the mega-merger of Discovery and WarnerMedia is on track for a mid-2022 closing and will begin by bundling discovery+ and HBO Max, followed by an eventual combination of the two into one platform.

This will bring the two companies an immense amount of retention along with a huge catalog of various titles for every type of audience member. While HBO draws the majority of male subscribers with its well-known blockbuster content, discovery+ attracts females with its reality TV, lifestyle shows, and documentaries. While discovery+ doesn’t quite have the same power in attracting subscribers, it does a great job of retaining them once they have signed on, which can’t be said for Disney+, as many consumers have stated that while the streamer’s catalog has a number of big names, it doesn’t yet have enough depth to keep them engaged in between major releases.

Both discovery+ and HBO Max offer ad-supported and ad-free tiers, with discovery+ going for $4.99 and $6.99 per month. HBO Max runs $9.99 and $14.99 per month for their ad-supported and ad-free options respectively. It remains to be seen as to what the cost for a bundled or eventually combined service might cost, but Wiedenfels mentioned WarnerMedia-Discovery will introduce an ad-free and ad-lite product in the future as well.

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