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WarnerMedia CEO Says HBO Max Has Bigger Opportunity Compared to Disney Plus

Stephanie Sengwe

WarnerMedia has been quite the hot topic over the last week as they have been shifting things internally, and while major changes are coming to the company, the overall goal is ensure that HBO Max is a formidable competitor. In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Alley.” WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar addressed how the streaming service has been faring compared to the likes of Disney+ and Peacock, which are also new to the market.

While the launch of HBO Max came during a time frame when several other services were also launching, Kilar doesn’t believe HBO Max will have a hard time gaining share in the market. He stated: “If you take a look at the last 60 days, by any measure, we’re in a good position. If you take a look at what we hoped and thought we’d be at the end of 2020 — which is 36 million HBO and HBO Max subscribers — we actually announced that we are north of 36 million already and obviously the numbers are going up every day.”

Kilar also expressed that he doesn’t view the comparisons between HBO Max, Disney+ and Peacock to be necessarily even. “I think if you dive deeper into … comparisons, especially on the NBC side, I think you’ll see a bit more of a difference … Keep in mind Disney is a hundred-year surgically precise brand with regards to families with kids under the age of nine, generally speaking,” he explained.

“Ours is a very different journey. I argue in success ours is a bigger outcome because we are really going after all members of the family and all individuals so the opportunity is bigger. It does mean our journey is going to be different because we don’t a hundred-year surgically precise brand around families, specifically with kids under the age of nine.”

Recently, parent company AT&T revealed that 4.1 million customers activated their HBO Max accounts, in their Q2 2020 earnings report. Three million of those were retail subscribers, while the rest were wholesale subscribers through AT&T. With legacy HBO at 33 million users, both services come to a combined 36.3 million U.S. subscribers. This is up from the 34.6 million in December 31, 2019.

In comparison, Disney+ added nearly 26.5 million subscribers over their first 1.5 month period, while Netflix announced they added 2.5 million subscribers in the U.S. and Canada this quarter alone.