HBO Max and HBO have ended 2021 with 73.8 million subscribers across the globe, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar announced on Wednesday ahead of the company’s fourth quarter earnings call.
It has added 4.4 million subscribers in the fourth quarter beating its July 2021 forecast to end the year with 70-73 million subscribers. In October 2019, at an investor day event, the company was projected to reach 75-90 million subscribers by the end of 2025. However, it achieved that goal almost four years early, noted Kilar.
“To say that this is a remarkable result would be an understatement,” said Kilar. “This performance is beyond what had been our best laid plans at the start of 2021.”
After the service launched in the US in 2020, it was launched in 45 more countries in 2021. HBO Max is expected to arrive in India in 2022. HBO Max is distributed as an app across devices such as Apple TV, Amazon Firestick, Google Chromecast, Roku and a host of smart TVs. WarnerMedia has also launched an ad-supported version of HBO Max which offers the service to consumers at a lower price.
At the beginning of 2021, the company had taken the controversial decision to release its slate of films under Warner Bros. Pictures simultaneously in theatres and HBO Max ignoring the theatrical window completely. This meant that the movie studio’s 18 films were available on the streaming service at the same time as their theatrical release. “We took a thoughtful risk (and some understandable heat), and it has worked,” remarked Kilar.
Impressive content launches by the company include ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’, ‘Mare of Easttown’, ‘Friends Reunion’, ‘The White Lotus’, ‘The Suicide Squad’, ‘Dune’, ‘Succession’, ‘The Matrix Resurrections’ and ‘Return of Hogwarts’.
The service also launched its live sports offering by picking up the rights to UEFA Champions League in Brazil and Mexico.