AT&T brought yet another competitor into the streaming space with HBO Max, and though it didn't have everything that AT&T had hoped for content-wise due to the coronavirus pandemic (specifically the Friends reunion), it still got off to a pretty good start. AT&T CEOJohn Stankey recently revealed that the service drew in 3 million retail subscribers (via THR), though it currently has 4.1 million overall subscribers, as 1 million customers have AT&T packages that include the service. AT&T has a goal of 50 to 55 million HBO Max subscribes by 2025, and on their latest earnings call they said they were on track to hit that milestone.
That isn't as hot a start as one of the services' competitors Disney+, which had 10 million subscribers after just a few days, and amassed 26.5 million paying subscribers in its first month. Since then Disney+ has landed around 55 million subscribers, though all of the services pale in comparison to Netflix's user base, which currently stands at 193 million subscribers.
It's early in this game though, and HBO Max has plenty of content coming down the pike that should help shoot those numbers up. It also didn't help that there was so much confusion around the service right at launch, mostly tied to HBO's other two apps and services and how Max fit into that lineup.
HBO GO and HBO Now definitely clouded things for customers, and that was only muddied further with certain AT&T plans, which included the service automatically. It was a bit of a mess, something Disney+ didn't really have to contend with.
That said, Disney+ had problems of its own, like an app that was having technical difficulties at launch, so nothing is ever going to go absolutely perfectly on a launch.
Evercore ISI analyst Vijay Jayant says "HBO Max isn't a game-changer for AT&T", adding "HBO Max's launch has thus far been notably less smooth than the launch of Disney+, due to a variety of factors, including confusing branding, uncertainty about how to get the product, and limitations on how consumers can actually watch the product, particularly on television. With that said, we believe HBO Max is a good product, with a strong content lineup, a solid (but not particularly distinctive) user interface, and the backing of a highly-regarded brand."
We'll have to wait and see how things shake out moving forward, but let us know which service you prefer in the comments!
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