September 27, 2021
Challenges affecting WarnerMedia’s rollout of the HBO Max subscription streaming service are well documented. Most-recently, Warner cautioned that the departure of the Max app from the Amazon Prime Channels platform could see it lose 5 million subscribers.
Now, new data from Digital TV Research contends the service’s launch across Europe is being undermined by existing distribution deals HBO has with regional pay-TV distributors. Indeed, Max will have a limited impact in Western Europe, with just 3.2 million paying subs across seven countries by 2026, according to the London-based research firm.
“It is not expected to start in several key European countries due to existing long-term deals with pay-TV operators,” principal analyst Simon Murray said in a statement.
Sobering stats considering that when Max launched in the spring of 2020, it had failed to secure distribution through Amazon Fire TV and the Roku platform — the two gateways representing almost 70% of consumer interaction with streaming video.
Regardless, WarnerMedia parent AT&T expects global subscribers of between 120 million and 150 million for Max and HBO by the end of 2025.
Netflix remains the top streamer with 67 million subs by 2026, including up 10 million at the end of 2021. Disney+ will have 53 million subs by 2026 — double the tally at the end of this year, and just behind Amazon Prime Video.
Overall, there will be 238 million SVOD subs across 18 Western European countries in 2026, up from 167 million at the end of 2021. Germany will lead all countries, adding 17 million, followed Italy and France with 10 million each, and the U.K. with 9 million.