It appears that the vast media library that WarnerMedia has, is not enough to get people to sign up for HBO MAX. As AT&T's CEO, John Stankey noted in the conference call today, HBO MAX has only signed up four million subscribers, in its first two months, since launch.
Breaking that down, that's three million that signed up through retail (either through cable/satellite or through its website) while one million signed up through AT&T's bundles. The number that signed up through AT&T's bundles is particularly low, seeing as AT&T has millions of customers that are eligible for free HBO MAX.
Lack of Amazon & Roku apps is hurting HBO MAX's growth
Like Peacock, HBO MAX launched without support for either Amazon Fire TV or Roku. The two biggest streaming platforms on the planet right now. And that is definitely hurting the growth of HBO MAX.
WarnerMedia is, of course, in talks with both Amazon and Roku about bringing the app to those platforms. But as of right now, they are still not available there.
The problem is, WarnerMedia wants HBO MAX to be its own independent app. But both Amazon and Roku want to integrate it into other services on their platform. Like the integrated search. So when you search on Roku for a title, it searches all of the apps that are installed. There's likely plenty more issues going on behind-the-scenes though. But that's the big one that WarnerMedia is touting.
HBO MAX subscribers spend a lot more time in the app
Another tidbit that Stankey talked about on the earnings call this morning was the amount of time subscribers are spending in the app.
According to Stankey, HBO MAX subscribers are spending about 70% more time in the app, compared to HBO NOW subscribers. And Stankey attributes that to the expanded library that HBO MAX has. Remember, HBO GO doesn't have the majority of Warner Brothers library included. While HBO MAX has all of it – at least all of it that is not licensed to other services right now.
That means that subscribers are watching the extra content that is available on HBO MAX as well. But HBO MAX is still having trouble getting linear cable customers to sign up for the service. And that is something that the company wants to work on in the future. WarnerMedia wants HBO MAX to scale pretty quickly, and only four million subscribers in two months isn't likely what they had in mind.