Research: HBO Max Subs More Likely to Pay for Additional Services

HBO Max subscribers in the United States are far more likely than Disney+ or Netflix subscribers to pay for additional video services, according to Interpret Insights’ New Media Measure.

While 27% of HBO Max subscribers pay for four to five other video services, only 12% of Netflix subscribers and 17% of Disney+ subscribers do the same, suggesting that HBO Max “is seen as highly complementary to other options in the market,” according to Interpret.

While HBO Max has benefited from Warner Bros. movies debuting on the service at the same time they hit theaters, that is poised to change next year as an (albeit shorter) theatrical window returns, according to Interpret.

“The big challenge as HBO Max enters 2022 will be securing exclusive content to maintain this momentum,” Interpret wrote.

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Interpret: 90% of Apple TV+ Subs Own at Least One Apple Device

Interpret research found that 90% of Apple TV+ subscribers own at least one Apple device, with 42% owning four or more Apple products.

Apple’s SVOD service (regularly $4.99 a month) has been free to any users who purchased an iPhone or other iOS device in late 2019. After extending the free period through February, the company extended the free service through July.

Pundits have noted that Apple TV+ lags in content offerings compared to other subscription streaming services, such as Disney+ and Netflix.

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Among those who cancelled their Apple TV+ subscription, nearly a third did so because of a “promotional price ending,” suggesting that viewers were anticipating the end of their free trials, according to Interpret.

 

Interpret: Discovery+ Fills Strong Niche

Discovery Channel’s new Discovery+ streaming service, which launched Jan. 4 in the United States, is filling a strong niche, according to Interpret research.

Available for $5 per month with a commercial-free version at $7 per month, the platform not only offers shows from Discovery Channel, with more than 55,000 episodes at launch, but also content from Discovery-owned HGTV, TLC, Food Network, Animal Planet, OWN and more. Discovery also has partnerships with BBC, A&E, Group Nine and others to provide additional content.

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“Discovery’s portfolio of channels offers an array of science, reality and non-fiction programming, providing it with a unique niche of content that is differentiated from Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock or other broadcast and cable TV network-oriented streaming services,” according to Interpret.

Interpret’s New Media Measure found that this type of content is popular, with viewership of Discovery’s portfolio of channels ranging from 7% to 20% of pay-TV subscribers.

“Discovery is betting that those same people will happily pay $5 per month, particularly if they leave traditional pay-TV,” according to Interpret.

Discovery+ is already available in the United Kingdom and Ireland and intends to roll out to 25 international markets this year. A promotion from Verizon provides as much as one year free of Discovery+ to its wireless customers.

Number of Movies Seen in Theaters by Americans Fell by Two-Thirds Due to Pandemic

COVID-19 has indeed hit theaters hard, according to data from Interpret.

The number of movies seen theatrically by Americans plunged by two-thirds from the second quarter of 2019 to the same quarter of 2020, according to Interpret’s New Media Measure.

Year-over-year, comparing Q2 2019 with Q2 2020, the study found a 66% plummet in the number of movies seen theatrically per quarter by Americans ages 13 to 65. On average, Americans were seeing six movies in theaters per year before the pandemic, dropping to just two in 2020, according to the data.

“For many years, there has been this push and pull between studios and theater owners regarding the length of the theatrical release window,” Interpret VP Brett Sappington said in a statement, citing the move by Warner to put all new theatrical releases on its streaming service HBO Max concurrent with their bow in theaters. “Theater owners need adequate time with Hollywood’s newest releases to fill theaters. Studios want to experiment with distribution to be relevant to the newest generations of viewers. COVID has forced an evolution that will affect movie distribution well into the future.”

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Interpret: Transactional Rentals Jumped 25%, Sales 20% From Q1 to Q2

Interpret research reported a 25% jump in U.S. digital movie rentals and a 20% leap in digital movie purchases in the second quarter of 2020 compared with the first quarter.

During the same period, the firm recorded a more than 70% jump in U.S. viewers renting movies digitally and a more than 60% leap in viewers making digital movie purchases.

“Always a strong studio revenue driver in pre-pandemic times, the home entertainment experience is for now the only show in town,” the firm stated, noting the closing of theaters during the pandemic.

Interpret’s New Media Measure showed that year-over-year from Q2 2019 to Q2 2020, the number of movies seen in theaters fell about 65%.

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“Theaters will return when movies begin to flow again out of Hollywood, but the business of movie distribution will likely be very different,” Interpret VP Brett Sappington said in a statement. “Studios will have significantly more negotiating power over theaters and control over distribution options with direct-to-consumer streaming. Theaters, one of the last bastions of traditional distribution, will now have to find a new place and role in order to survive.”