Here’s Why HBO Max is Fastest Growing Streaming Service, WarnerMedia CEO Kilar Says
In a recent interview with Bloomberg, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar talked about the success of HBO Max and the streaming service’s performance in the second quarter.
In the second quarter, HBO Max added 2.8 million subscribers and now has 47 million subscribers in the U.S. and 67.5 million international subscribers. The subscriber base is only predicted to increase with AT&T predicting 70 million subscribers by the end of 2021.
“There’s a number of things that go into it, but from a titles perspective … On the series side, there’s Mare of Eastown, Hacks, the Friends reunion. On the motion picture side, I’d highlight Godzilla v. Kong. Mortal Kombat as well,” Kilar said in relation to growth in the second quarter. “To your larger question, I’d say it’s really now the third quarter in a row of I think us doing the job we’re capable of. To make sure we’re presenting an incredible slate of new productions.”
In 2022, WarnerMedia will be using a new movie strategy with some movies heading to theaters and others going straight to HBO Max on their release date.
HBO Max is a subscription video streaming service that gives access to the full HBO library, along with exclusive Max Originals, and access to every Warner Bros. film on HBO Max on the same day that it hits theaters.
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.”
Kilar was asked how the company decides which movies to send to theaters and which to add to the HBO Max library.
“There is a certain kind of movie or story or character that is very well set up with a shortened exclusive theatrical run,” he said. “That’s the 45-day run. In the case of Batman, which we’ll release in March, that’s the kind of story where we’re introducing a new actor in the role and we think having a global exclusive theatrical run will do a good job setting it up in the mind of the consumer. It will go to HBO Max immediately after.”
Kilar doesn’t know whether HBO Max’s growth has a direct impact on Netflix and other competitors, but he knows that his company’s strategy is working.
“What I can tell you is that what we’re doing is clearly resonating with a lot of consumers in the US market. Not just in absolute subscribers but revenue,” Kilar said. “A year ago the HBO and HBO Max business was a $6 billion business that was declining 5% year over year. 12 months later, it’s an $8 billion business growing remarkably fast – 39%.”
Though Kilar was previously criticized for choosing to add films to HBO Max the same day they were released in theaters, it looks like his decision has paid off. The company has made several big moves propelling its success, including launching an ad-supported tier in June.