Not sure if we can credit Wonder Woman 1984, the 20% subscription discount or simultaneously releasing 17 movies between Christmas and the end of 2021 on HBO Max and in theaters.
Regardless, HBO Max are growing paid subscribers and have eclipsed 41 million.
Combined, HBO and HBO Max had 41.5 million U.S. subscribers as of the end of 2020, compared with 38.0 million as of the end of September. “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,” said AT&T CEO John Stankey.HBO Max Reaches 37.7M, Including 17.2M “Activated,” Subscribers | Hollywood Reporter
I also read another article that Nielson screwed up by declaring Soul the Christmas day winner for streaming. HBO Max had like 25% more according to that other article to be top of the charts. A ton of people watched Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max on Christmas day.
Considering the top player, Netflix, has surpassed 200 million paid subscribers (see: Streamers and Theaters in 2021 – Netflix The First To Pass 200 million subscribers, Talks About Disney+ To Analysts), HBO Max has a long road ahead. Still, a growth of 3 million paid subscribers is a noteworthy accomplishment. They might be better compared against Disney+, Hulu, CBS All Access (soon to be Paramount+) and Peacock.
Please note the intentional emphasis on “paid” subscriber. When we talk about Peacock and Apple TV+, for example, they both have subscription numbers made up of both paid and free subscribers. When you muddy the subscriber numbers with both paid and free tiers, it can hide the fact that one brings direct revenue and the other are eyeballs for advertisers. Both are important, yes, but an argument could be made that paid subscriber revenue can be more easily and transparently taken to the bank.
Put another way, everybody else would like to be in Netflix’s shoes with 200+ million paid subscribers and not known as having a lot of free or discounted subscriptions. Even Amazon, which essentially gives a Prime Video subscription to anybody that subscribes to Prime for a year. How many of their 150+ million subscriptions are paid directly vs. included with Prime?
We don’t pay directly for it, we get it as included within the Prime annual subscription. If we had to pay extra for it, not sure we’d pay more than we do for Hulu or CBS All Access, certainly not what we pay for Netflix.