HBO Max & Hulu Falling Behind, Need More Children Content to Appeal to Parents of Young Kids
The demand for kid-focused content has never been hotter, and while the world of streaming is awash with family-friendly programming, there are some services that need to catch up (cough, cough HBO Max and Hulu). According to data from Interpret, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ are the top services among parents of small children.
According to Interpret’s VideoWatch, just under one-third (32%) of parents with children age 10 and under in the U.S. currently subscribe to HBO Max. That percentage jumps to 44% for Disney+, 49% for Amazon Prime Video, and 52% for Netflix. That’s a high mountain for HBO Max to climb.
Hulu has an even longer journey, with 31% of parents of young children subscribed to its limited-commercials subscription, and 20% subscribed to the ad-free tier. However, since Disney owns the majority stake in the service, they can afford get away with a more adult-focused library, since Disney+ is the top home for kids’ content; especially with the advent of the Disney Bundle.
Between January 2020 and September 2021, Parrot Analytics data shows that — spurred on by the move to virtual schooling — demand for children’s content surged 58%, while demand for other streaming content grew by 22.5%. However, during the same period, Hulu (15.2%) and HBO Max (12.7%) significantly trailed in viewership demand for kids’ content compared to their competitors.
HBO Max has been steadily adding subscribers since it launched. The service finished 2021 with nearly 74 million, which was ahead of what parent company AT&T had forecasted. While titles like “Succession,” the Sex and the City reboot “And Just Like That…”, “Euphoria,” “The Matrix Resurrections,” and “Station Eleven” have attracted adult consumers, most people do not associate HBO Max with kids shows.
WarnerMedia Kids & Family has been taking steps to change their reputation in this regard by acquiring the rights to popular shows “Blippi,” “CoComelon,” “Lellobee City Farm,” and “Vlad & Niki” to air on both HBO Max and Cartoon Network.
Additionally, Warner has expanded its partnership with children’s book author Mo Willems to bring more original content to the platform.
No doubt that parents who are already subscribing to HBO Max will welcome the continued additions of children’s content, but it’s hard to say if the streamer’s family-friendly focus will move the needle for those not yet subscribed, especially since they are operating at such a deficit. The service hopes to quickly gain ground on streaming giants Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, all of which have an abundance of kids content.
Brett Sappington, Vice President at Interpret said, “To achieve the high subscriber figures and compete at the highest level, streaming services must appeal broadly, offering compelling content to a wide variety of audiences. Families with children are a highly sought-after segment of the streaming market. Not only are they much more likely to adopt subscription services than average consumers, they also are a highly appealing target audience for advertisers.”
HBO Max has two tiers, an ad-supported plan for $9.99 and ad-free plan for $14.99. HBO Max without ads also includes features like the ability to download offline and 4K streaming.
They also will get Max Originals that aren’t available to HBO channel subscribers, like “The Flight Attendant” (Kaley Cuoco), “Love Life” (Anna Kendrick), as well as reboots to “Sex In The City” and “Gossip Girl.”