AT&T-WarnerMedia‘s streaming service HBO Max has reached 37.7 million users eight months after its launch in the U.S. – 17.17 million were added only in the fourth quarter of 2020, following distribution deal with Roku and the Christmas Day release of Wonder Woman 1984. The new numbers were disclosed on Wednesday in AT&T’s earnings report. Combined, HBO and HBO Max had 41.5 million subscribers in the U.S. and 61 million worldwide as of the end of 2020. “More than 10 million customers combine one or more of our connectivity products with HBO Max or HBO,” said AT&T CEO John Stankey at the conference call with analysts.
He also told analysts that the company expects to reach 50 million to 55 million HBO Max customers in the U.S. by 2025. Nothing about the international debut of the service was said, but as LABS first reported last year, it’s already known that HBO Max’s next steps will be in Latin America.
In 2020, WarnerMedia took control of all HBO-branded operations in the region. HBO Max is also planning an AVOD version for next year, in what could be a business model particularly attractive to Latin Americans. The company is also working with partners to increase the number of HBO’s subscribers in the region – possibly the same partners that will help WarnerMedia to sell HBO max when the service is launched.
In July last year, for example, Argentina-based e-commerce platform Mercado Libre and HBO Latin America announced a partnership that brings media content for users of the online marketplace in Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico. Mercado Libre’s users can subscribe to HBO Go, the current streaming service operated by the brand in the region, through MeLi, and with discounts.
In January, WarnerMedia’s leadership in the region changed. The team is led by Tomás Yankelevich, Chief Content Officer of the General Entertainment (GE) area at WarnerMedia Latin America.
The team will work on all linear and digital GE offerings from WarnerMedia Latin America, including the premium HBO channels: HBO, HBO 2, HBO GO, HBO Family, HBO Pop, HBO Xtreme, HBO +, HBO Signature and HBO Mundi; basic cable channels: TNT, TNT Series, Space, Cinemax, Warner Channel, TCM, I.Sat, TBS, HTV, MuchMusic, Glitz and truTV; and TNT Sports properties. In addition, the team will work on the regional content proposal to be launched with HBO Max in the region.
Around $800 million was invested in HBO Max development and original productions in 2020’s fourth quarter; $2 billion in 2020 as a whole.
In 2020, HBO as a whole (cable channels, HBO, Cinemax, and HBO Max) generated $1.9 billion in revenues, up 11.7% year over year, reflecting an increase in subscription revenues, partially offset by a decrease in content and other revenues.
Simultaneously, expenses grew, to $1.8 billion, up 48.6% year over year primarily due to higher programming costs and expenses related to HBO Max launching and development.