HBO Max Hits 64 Million Paid Subscribers

Yes, they are a long ways from 200+ million, but the HBO Max paid subscriber count continues to inch closer to the 100+ million mark.

In its Q1 earnings report released this week, the company cited “first-quarter results that showed continuing customer growth in wireless, fiber and HBO Max and strong cash flows.” It further went on to cite 2.7 million total domestic HBO and HBO Max net new subscribers, further noting 44.2 million total domestic subscribers and almost 64 million global subscribers. But those numbers don’t tell the whole story, and buried in the fine print at the very bottom of the report, AT&T sort of breaks down how those figures work.

Those HBO Max Numbers Aren’t What They Seem

This is an increase in subscribers of approximately three million since the last time we wrote about this in January 2021 (see: Wonder Woman 1984 Helps HBO Max Gain 3+ Million Subscribers To 41.5 Million).

It’s fascinating that skeptics remain everywhere for HBO. They’ve been around since the 70s, I don’t think they’re going anywhere in the streaming race any time soon. No, they aren’t Netflix, but they have plenty of movies and TV properties to stay relevant for years to come, regardless if AT&T torpedoes them from time to time. Some people see the value in their content library (see: Tom’s Guide Article Declares HBO Max As Currently The Best Streaming Service)

Not scientific by any means, but we looked at how many movies we’ve watched across the various streaming services in 2021 so far as well as watched in theaters for comparison. Here are the numbers as of this writing (through 4/26/2021):

  1. Watched In theaters – 21
  2. HBO Max – 21
  3. Netflix – 16
  4. Amazon Prime Video – 14
  5. Hulu – 12
  6. Shudder – 10
  7. Paramount+ / CBS All Access – 8
  8. Peacock – 5
  9. Disney+ – 5

This list above through the first four months will be interesting to revisit at the end of the year — to compare and contrast.

The movies being watched (or rewatched) and reviewed are being organically chosen based on interest at the moment. We don’t go to HBO Max first, it just has the largest library of movies, both new and older that we want to see. Netflix is higher up the list because they release more new movies than any service. Some don’t appeal to us, like the new Melissa McCarthy movie we didn’t bother to watch, but they release far and away the most new movies, usually exclusives than any streaming service. This is their way of getting on streaming subscribers organically chosen list — and clearly it works with us.

Down the list in the middle comes no surprise with Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. They share some similarities in their respective movie libraries. Amazon Prime Video has way more movies, but a lot that you’ve never heard of. Hulu has a decent library of foreign titles.

At the bottom of the list comes Paramount+/CBS All Access, Peacock and Disney+. None of these three services release many new movies. Disney+ has the best existing library, perhaps followed closely by Peacock. Despite the name change, Paramount+ still has a comparatively small streaming movie library. It’s not all about quantity, but for movie lovers, there are better choices than Paramount+.

Speaking of quantity, Shudder is also middle of the road in the list above, but for horror they would be toward the top. For a niche streaming service, they have movies other services don’t have and are worth watching — if you like horror, of course. There are other niche streaming services that deserve attention. We were subscribed to Boomerang for animated shows, for example, and that has a good library too.

The ad-supported streaming channels aren’t being tracked through our Letterboxd list, but we do record them by tag. We don’t watch many of those channels, really, you can can’t the movies watched on one hand probably through the first four months. The answer is usually to do with the ads. Peacock has too many ads for their ad-supported version. Having ads come on frequently isn’t the way we want to watch movies. We could pay $4/more a month for Peacock without ads, but the movie library will need to be much more compelling to pay more.

We probably will try the HBO Max with ads offering to see how intrusive the ads are. If they are anything like Peacock, then we’ll go back to paying for the ad-free subscription tier.

What streaming channel are you watching the most movies on?

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