HBO Max signed 2.4 million new subscribers in the June quarter in the United States while hundreds of thousands of Americans canceled their Netflix subscriptions, as a sign of how the battle in Hollywood streaming has heated up.
The company had 12.1 million retail subscribers to HBO Max at the end of June, compared to 9.7 million at the end of March. This does not include people who have access to the WarnerMedia proprietary service for free through their cable subscription.
In contrast, Netflix has lost 430,000 subscribers in the United States and Canada during these three months, feeding worries that the streaming giant has lost ground to new entrants into the market it has pioneered.
Netflix still has 74m subscribers in the United States and Canada, and 209m worldwide, making it the streaming leader by a wide margin. But investors and analysts are worried about its slowdown in North America.
“It should be clear by now that the U.S. streaming market has become much more competitive,” said Michael Nathanson, an analyst at MoffettNathanson. “Netflix’s position as a prime mover is clearly challenged,” he said, warning that “the average age seems to be entering” for Netflix in the United States.
In recent years, larger traditional media groups have consolidated themselves to gain weight as they try to reinvent themselves as streaming services and compete with Netflix. Disney acquired Fox for $ 71 billion, while AT&T bought WarnerMedia for $ 85 billion.
AT&T in May agreed spin off and combines WarnerMedia with rival Discovery, just three years after acquiring the company, a humble retirement from Hollywood for the telecommunications company.
The deal has combined one of the most valuable portfolios in entertainment – including Warner Bros. film and television studios, the HBO network and a portfolio of cable channels including CNN – with Discovery’s unwritten programming, which its brands ranging from sports and wildlife to home renovations.
Netflix’s senior administration this week dismissed HBO as a threat. Reed Hastings, co-chief executive, told investors that the Discovery-Warner combination was not “as significant” as Disney’s acquisition of Fox, adding that it had not seen an impact from HBO on the growth of Netflix subscribers.
“It’s HBO or Disney. . . have a differential impact compared to the past? We don’t see that in the [data]”Hastings told investors. “This gives us comfort.”
Co-executive director Ted Sarandos also criticized Warner’s agreement: “I look at all of this. . . consolidations, when they are one and one equal to three or one and one equal to four, contrary to what most of them tend to be: what is one and one equal to two? “
In the last year and a half, Disney, Apple, WarnerMedia, Comcast, Discovery and others have launched streaming platforms, with mixed success.
Warner launched HBO Max in the United States last year for $ 15 a month, and expanded to Latin America in late June. The service has reached 12m of direct subscriptions, and a total subscriber base of 47m for HBO and HBO Max. This is far below rival Disney, which in May reached 104 million subscribers to the Disney Plus service.
HBO’s subscriber growth helped earn WarnerMedia’s revenue to $ 8.8 billion in the quarter, up 31 percent from a year ago, and higher than the $ 8.4 billion it earned. Wall Street planned.
The parent company AT&T posted net income of $ 1.9 billion over $ 44 billion in revenue. AT&T shares climbed 1.6 percent in pre-market trading.