January 19, 2021
Broader app placement and a hit movie certainly have helped WarnerMedia’s HBO Max subscription streaming service, with a new data from Kantar Worldpanel showing the service took 20% of all new SVOD subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2020 ended Dec. 31, 2020.
That’s up from 13.4% in the third quarter. The research firm said last year ended with 233 million SVOD subs in the U.S.
For the full year, Disney+ led all services with 18.3% of new subs, followed by Amazon Prime Video (17%), Hulu (13.2%), Netflix (12.5%), Max (12%) and Apple TV+ (6.2%).
In the crowded SVOD market, HBO Max launched last May and struggled out of the gate due to a variety of issues, including disputes with Roku and Amazon over app placement and a confusing debut while HBO Go and HBO Now were still operational.
Since then, the two other HBO streaming services have been shuttered and Max has become available on Roku and Amazon Fire TV. But perhaps the service’s biggest boost was the same-day streaming access to theatrical release Wonder Woman 1984.
Dominic Sunnebo, SVP at Kantar, contends that while Netflix subs remain highly engaged, the content slate and current pricing proposition does not appear strong enough to drive continued subscriber growth in the presence of multiple highly competitive service launches.
Of course, Netflix again defied naysayers, besting Q4 subscriber growth estimates and generating a record 37 million in new subs in 2020. The service ended the year with more than 203 million subs worldwide.