UPDATED with management comments. HBO Max and HBO totaled 73.8 million global subscribers by the end of 2021, ahead of the company’s estimates of 70 to 73 million.
In a brief interview with Deadline, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar called 2021 “the year HBO Max broke through.” He said the service is now in 46 countries after it began rolling out globally in June last year. When asked about the distribution between US and non-US subscribers, Kilar answered and said that AT&T plans to announce these figures when they announce results for the fourth quarter later this month.
Power statistics and a handful of other calculations were provided this morning by WarnerMedia parent AT&T ahead of CEO John Stankey̵[ads1]7;s appearance at a Citibank investment conference.
HBO Max was launched in May 2020 and got off to a very slow start before they found a foothold. The streaming service, which can be accessed at no extra cost to paying HBO customers, began rolling out globally last year and also introduced a lower priced, ad-supported level. Following initial brand confusion given the existence of other HBO-branded streaming apps on the market, HBO landed Max distribution with Roku and a new setup with Amazon, giving it access to two major US gateways.
Internationally, HBO Max is still years away from entering the key markets in the UK, Italy and Germany due to previous distribution agreements with Sky. Asked if WarnerMedia would try to renegotiate the Sky agreements, which run through 2024, Kilar said: “We always talk to our partners.” HBO Max is expected to have an even greater international focus when WarnerMedia merges with Discovery and separates from AT&T, pending approval from regulators later this year.
The streaming service has benefited from day-to-day movie releases from Warner Bros., especially fourth-quarter releases of Dune and the fourth Matrix deduction. Introduced as a pandemic measure, the release pattern is not expected to remain in force, but it has helped on board a number of new subscribers. When asked about film windows, Kilar said that the plan is to use a “film-specific” release strategy, with certain films that go to the cinema and are streamed at the same time and others in an exclusive theater window.
Together with the flow figures, AT&T said that they had 3.2 million postal telephone networks, the highest in total in more than a decade.
After moving mountains to enter the entertainment industry in 2018 with the $ 85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T announced last year that it would spin out WarnerMedia. The company also took a losing streak on pay-TV last year, spinning DirecTV into a new entity backed by private equity firm TPG.