WarnerMedia’s HBO Max continues growth despite US decline

White Lotus

Shows such as White Lotus and Hacks have helped fuel international growth for HBO and its companion streaming service HBO Max over the past three months, with parent company AT&T reporting almost 70 million subscribers to date.

The pull of the dramas along with its day-and-date theatrical releases of movies such as The Suicide Squad saw subscribers to both services grow by 1.9 million from the previous quarter to 69.4 million.

HBO, however, has lost ground in the US, dipping from 47 million to 45.2 million after the service was removed from Amazon Prime Video in September.

WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, whose long-term position at the company remains unclear, said that the company would benefit by building direct customer relationships. “It sets us up for a larger, more valuable, business. Although it is the harder path, we think it’s the better path for the business.”

The results, which saw WarnerMedia’s overall revenue for the quarter soar 14% on last year to $8.4bn, came days before HBO Max begins to roll out across Europe on 26 October.

The service will initially launch in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain and Andorra, with a further 14 countries scheduled for launch in 2022.

A broader expansion across major European markets such as France, Germany, Italy and the UK has been hampered by long-term overall deals struck prior to the launch of HBO Max. TBI understands, however, that WarnerMedia is hopeful that the service could expand into some of those countries before those deals run their full course.

AT&T CEO, John Stankey, underlined the importance of the streamer to WarnerMedia’s future prospects during a call with investors.

“HBO Max is the foundation of that business moving forward and how the combined company will continue to go to market. Everything that we do right now to make that product better and add customers is a step in the right direction and the consistent direction of where the closed and combined business goes.”

The company also expects the spin-off of WarnerMedia with Discovery to be complete in mid-2022, despite the Biden administration’s ongoing antitrust crackdown against mega-mergers.

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