According to statistics released today by parent firm AT&T ahead of the company’s fourth-quarter earnings later this month, HBO, including the HBO Max streaming service, currently has 73.8 million global members as of the end of 2021. The result exceeds the company’s previous prediction for the year-end total, which is expected to be in the 70 million to 73 million range. It also reflects a 4.4 million rise in subscribers in Q4, compared to the 69.4 million recorded in the previous quarter — the latter representing a 12.5 million year-over-year increase at the time. HBO’s U.S. subscribers fell in the third quarter, despite the service’s growth, but the loss offset by overseas subscriber increases.
The company’s decision to withdraw HBO Max from Amazon’s Prime Channels in the quarter was one of the contributing causes to the domestic fall, which resulted in a 1.8 million drop in U.S. subscribers (from 47 million in Q2 down to 45.2 million in Q3). AT&T’s WarnerMedia reported at the time that its average revenue per domestic customer was $11.82. In the months ahead, the firm expects to recoup some of the domestic subscriber losses when Amazon Prime Channels users return to HBO via direct subscriptions.
HBO boasted about how nicely their last quarter of 2021 was going earlier this week. People take time off work to relax at home with family and watch TV over the holiday season, which boosts activity in the entertainment industry. That seems to be the case for HBO Max, as the streaming service said that December had been its most popular month since its introduction in May 2020. The excitement around the “Sex and the City” revival “And Just Like That…”, which became HBO Max’s No. 1 series in the United States, the European Union, and Latin America, contributed to this increase.
The critically praised “Succession” season three finales, which saw total viewership rise 47 percent over the season 2 finales, as well as finales for “Insecure” (a series finale) and “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” helped the streamer. As HBO Max adopted same-day movie releases, the new picture “The Matrix Resurrections” helped wrap out the year as one of the top four films released on the service. In the third quarter, “King Richard” was another same-day release.
The popularity of these episodes and films drew in additional viewers, who subsequently spent more time watching other HBO Max original programming, increasing total viewing patterns. Some subscribers have signed up in anticipation of the “Harry Potter: Return to Hogwarts” reunion special’s debut in the New Year. It is worth remembering that the HBO stats at the end of the year do not include free trials. However, the domestic data include accounts in the United States that have “access to” HBO and HBO Max, which muddies the waters. This implies the firm is counting those who may be viewing HBO but have not yet signed up to do so as subscribers.
AT&T CEO John Stankey announced the new subscriber numbers at a Citi investor conference earlier today, where he also discussed other aspects of the company, such as postpaid phone and fiber subscribers, which ended the year with 3.2 million net ads (the best figure in a decade or more) and 1.0 million net ads, respectively. The executive also voiced confidence in the proposed WarnerMedia-Discovery combination, which anticipated completion in mid-2022. In addition, he added, when Discovery’s portfolio is incorporated into the HBO Max library, the business expects to see even more benefits.