HBO Max will launch its cheaper, ad-supported tier in the United States in June as the streamer eyes 120-150 million subscribers by the end of 2025. In the meantime, it’s also expecting to end this year with 67-70 million subscribers worldwide, an increase from the 61 million total subscribers signed up at the end of 2020. The news was announced ahead of the company’s Analyst and Investor Day, which will bring along more information about the future plans of HBO Max.
Back in October 2019, HBO Max had predicted a total count of somewhere between 75 million to 90 million by that time, but things have obviously changed a lot in the time since then. At the end of 2020, the number was at 41.5 subscribers when combined with traditional HBO. About 17.2 million HBO Max subscriptions were activated by original HBO subscribers.
“We’re being deliberate and strategic with how we allocate capital to invest in our market focus areas of 5G, fiber and HBO Max, while being committed to sustaining the dividend at current levels and utilizing cash after dividends to reduce debt,” said CEO of AT&T John Stankey in a statement. “Our number one priority in 2021 is growing our customer relationships. It’s about more than just adding to our customer base. It’s about expanding the growth opportunity in our three market focus areas and also increasing our share within each market.”
Stankey added: “We’re focused on creating deeper relationships with our current customers to increase their daily engagement with our products and services, enabling us to gather more meaningful insights, drive loyalty, and stay ahead of their rapidly changing preferences. As demand for connectivity and content continues to grow, we are well positioned to deliver.”
While the pandemic has been bad for the movie theater business, it seems clear that HBO Max has benefitted from having more people watching movies at home. Now, every major Warner Bros. movie release for the foreseeable future will be made available on HBO Max the same day they’re released in theaters. Wonder Woman 1984 and other releases on the streamer have certainly brought in a lot of new members keen on watching theatrical releases on TV. Upcoming anticipated movies like Mortal Kombat and Space Jam: A New Legacy will only drive those numbers up.
As it is now, the biggest catch of HBO Max seems to be the price. The service costs $14.99 per month in the United States, making it one of the priciest streamers available in a very crowded market. Other streaming services like Hulu and Peacock have offered cheaper options for subscribers, with lower fees per month for subscribers content with limited advertising breaks. There are certainly many people out there who’d be willing to sign up for a cheaper version of HBO Max with ad support, and that’s something that the company is clearly banking on as well.
The ad-supported tier of HBO Max will go live in June, but the monthly fee for the cheaper option hasn’t yet been revealed. This news comes to us from Deadline.