AT&T on Thursday touted the “successful” launch of HBO Max — with the new service helping to boost overall HBO and HBO Max customers by a net 1.7 million over the first six months of 2020.
As of June 30, 2020, AT&T’s WarnerMedia reported 36.3 million total U.S. subscribers to HBO Max and HBO, up from 34.6 million at Dec. 31, 2019. That’s an increase of 5% over that time period. However, traditional HBO lost 2.1 million subscribers during the first quarter.
In disclosing AT&T’s second-quarter earnings, CEO John Stankey said there were nearly 3 million new subscribers that purchased HBO Max directly from WarnerMedia via online signups in the quarter since its May 27 launch and 4.1 million total activations of the HBO Max app. That means the great majority of HBO’s existing subscribers have yet to access HBO Max content even though it is free to those who already pay for HBO.
AT&T disclosed what it termed “wholesale” and “retail” subscribers for HBO and HBO Max. Wholesale subscribers are those that pay for HBO through an existing MVPD, whether a cable operator like Comcast or AT&T’s DirecTV or a virtual MVPD a la YouTube TV and Hulu. Retail subscribers are those who purchase HBO Max directly from WarnerMedia through the internet.
According to AT&T, HBO has 23.6 million subscribers that come through wholesale channels, but as of June 30, it appears that only about 1 million of those have activated the HBO Max app even though it is free as part of their HBO subscription. AT&T disclosed that 2.97 million subscribers have come through retail sales.