HBO Now Has ‘About 800,000’ Paying Subscribers, CEO Confirms

SVOD service has been around for eight months, but isn’t yet on Xbox or PlayStation

Kit Harington as Jon Snow (photo Helen Sloan/HBO)

HBO Now has “about 800,000 paying subscribers,” HBO CEO Richard Plepler confirmed during a Wednesday morning Time Warner investor event.

Wall Street was looking for more subscribers by now for the service — somewhere around the 1-2 million range — but company brass spun its actual total in a positive light anyway.

After all, the pay-TV channel’s eight-month-old SVOD option isn’t on Xbox or PlayStation platforms yet, consoles that combine for 20 percent of HBO Go usage.

Time Warner’s HBO (which includes HBO Now) and Cinemax added a total of 2.7 million paid subscribers this year, the company revealed in its fourth-quarter financials.

There have been calls for the parent company to sell or spin off its successful HBO business, which could possibly help the premium TV channel better compete with Netflix from a positioning standpoint. Such a plan was not discussed at all during today’s routine conference call, on which media analysts have the opportunity to query top executives.

Time Warner Inc. unveiled its Q4 2015 earnings early Wednesday morning, whiffing on revenue forecasts but beating Wall Street’s earnings expectations. Cable TV — notably HBO and Turner — performed fairly well over the most-recent three months, but the parent company’s Warner Bros. box office sales sunk, more than offsetting any positives at the top line.

Still, the company increased its dividend payout by 15 percent, as the full-year 2015 numbers looked better than just the 90-day snapshot. Time Warner is also very bullish on 2016, when the company expects big paydays for the groundwork it laid out last year.

Company stock (TWX) sunk in premarket trading, following suit with its tough Tuesday. When the U.S. gates officially opened at 9:30 a.m. this morning, the share prices rose — but not nearly enough (yet, at least) to overcome the prior declines.

TWX, which recovered from a rough December, has been in a near week-long nosedive. Below is the past 3 months of Time Warner Inc. trading; today’s stats are listed at the top of the photo.