HBO Max and HBO have reached a combined 44.2 million U.S. subscribers, AT&T revealed in its first-quarter 2021 earnings report Thursday. That’s up from the 41 million combined subs the WarnerMedia parent company reported for its premium cable channel and streaming service at the end of 2020, a tally that beat the company’s initial projection by two years.
Per AT&T, HBO and HBO Max added 2.7 million domestic subscribers by the end of the first three months of 2021, with subscriptions up by more than 11 million year over year, driven by HBO Max retail subscriber growth.
In the breakdown of subscribers, 30.9 million are “wholesale” customers who subscribe to HBO and get HBO Max for free as a result, while 9.7 million “retail” customers subscribe directly to the $14.99/month HBO Max itself. AT&T did not break out the number of “activations” of HBO Max accounts by those who already have HBO, as the company has done in previous earnings reports.
To put that subscriber growth in context: Disney+ shot past 28 million subscribers within its first three months and last month surpassed 100 million subscribers, a milestone it reached years ahead of schedule. AT&T reported at the end of January that it has around 61 million subscribers between HBO and HBO Max around the world, and now has nearly 64 million globally.
AT&T said last month that its updated forecast expects HBO Max and HBO to reach between 120 million and 150 million subscribers worldwide by the end of 2025.
The ad-supported tier of HBO Max will launch in the U.S. in June. A price has not yet been set for that option.
AT&T reported its first-quarter 2021 earnings Thursday, revealing it had beaten analysts’ expectations for both earnings and revenue in the quarter that saw the theatrical and HBO Max release of “Godzilla vs. Kong” and the airing of NCAA March Madness. WarnerMedia’s direct-to-consumer subscription revenue rose 35% year over year in the quarter, which is growth attributable to HBO Max not having launched until Q2 of 2020.
“We continued to excel in growing customer relationships in our market focus areas of mobility, fiber and HBO Max,” AT&T CEO said John Stankey said in a statement prepared to accompany the financials. “We had another strong quarter of postpaid phone net adds, higher gross adds, lower churn and good growth in Mobility EBITDA. We also continue to increase penetration in markets where we offer fiber broadband and we’re moving quickly to deploy more fiber. HBO Max continued to deliver strong subscriber and revenue growth in advance of our international and AVOD launches planned for June.”
You can read more about the company’s Q1 2021 earnings here.
AT&T executives will host a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the results in greater detail.