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HBO Max grows subscription base, Warner Bros revenue declines

The company is planning an international launch for HBO Max later this year.

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KOLKATA: With the bold move to release Wonder Woman 1984, HBO Max has gained tremendously by doubling active subscriptions in the fourth quarter. The newly launched streaming service has reached 17.2 million active subscribers in the quarter. That’s up from 8.6 million at the end of the third quarter.

Overall, WarnerMedia had 41.5 million combined HBO Max and HBO US subscribers at the end of 2020, AT&T revealed in its quarterly earnings.

“The release of Wonder Woman 1984 helped drive our domestic HBO Max and HBO subscribers to more than 41 million, a full two years faster than our initial forecast,” AT&T CEO John Stankey claimed in a statement.

HBO Max, which competes with other emerging services like Disney+, Apple TV+ and Peacock, also benefited in the past quarter from a distribution deal with Roku struck in December 2020.

While the Covid2019 pandemic impacted revenues across most AT&T-owned businesses, WarnerMedia was particularly affected. Its revenue dropped almost 10 per cent from a year ago, to $8.6 billion. AT&T estimated its TV and film revenue took a $1.6 billion hit in the quarter. Revenue at Warner Bros alone dove 21 per cent to land at $3.2 billion. This was offset partially by 11.7 per cent revenue growth of HBO.

Earlier, Warner Media introduced a unique one-year plan for 2021 in which Warner Bros will continue to exhibit films theatrically worldwide while adding an exclusive one-month access period on HBO Max, simultaneous with the films' domestic release.

The company is expecting to launch an international version of HBO Max as well as an AVoD offering later this year, although any more details were not revealed. It has scheduled the Latin America debut for Q2.

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