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HBO Max and HBO’s US subscriptions dip following Amazon exit

HBO Max and HBO’s US subscriptions dip following Amazon exit


But the service is still technically growing

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

HBO Max is still growing — but the service appears to have felt the impact of its exit from Amazon Prime Channels earlier this quarter. 

HBO Max and HBO subscriptions collectively grew to 69.4 million internationally from 67.5 million the previous quarter, the company reported during its second-quarter earnings presentation. But its combined subscriptions to both services dropped in the US from 47 million last quarter to 45.2 million this quarter — a difference of 1.8 million subscribers.

So while its total subscription numbers were up 1.9 million subscribers for the quarter (and up 12.5 million, year over year) — meaning they’re still ballooning — the combined services still saw a loss in US subscriptions. AT&T said in its earnings report that “international and ad-supported subscriber gains were partially offset by HBO Max being discontinued on the Amazon wholesale platform.”

HBO lost 1.8 million subscribers in the US this quarter across standard HBO and HBO Max

A spokesperson for AT&T confirmed to The Verge that the decision to remove HBO from Amazon Prime Channels did, in fact, hurt its domestic subscriber numbers. But the spokesperson added that the company also expects “to get some of these subscribers back into the retail base in the later part of the year.”

HBO Max launched in 39 territories outside of the US toward the end of June. Meanwhile, the streamer’s cheaper, ad-supported tier that costs $10 a month — a discount of $5 off its premium subscription — launched earlier in June. Andy Forssell, EVP and general manager of WarnerMedia direct-to-consumer, said at the time the company expected the discounted plan would help HBO Max “reach a wider audience.”

While it's difficult to pin down just how much the Amazon Prime Channels exit alone impacted subscribers, the company stood to lose 5 million subscribers by bailing from the platform. Even still, Forssell told Bloomberg in August that the company didn’t see the move impacting its end-of-year subscriber goals, and he appears to be right.

AT&T reported that it still expects to reach the higher end of its subscriber goal of between 70 million and 73 million — which shouldn’t be hard, barring any major controversy or unforeseen failure that leads HBO and HBO Max users to jump from the apps en masse.