Analyst: HBO Now Gained Between 1M and 2M Subs

HBO Now, the direct-to-consumer over-the-top app launched earlier this year, has between 970,000 and 1.9 million subs, according to one Wall Street analyst.

Looking to pierce the secrecy surrounding the recent launch of direct-to-consumer over-the-top video apps launched by HBO and other TV companies, Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson Research, secured app download data from research company Sensor Tower. He used that data to draw rough estimates about subscriber totals.

HBO and its parent, Time Warner, have not provided details about how many subscribers HBO Now has received. Nor have the other media companies jumping into the OTT business. But the number is important because these products are aimed at reaching the growing number of cord-cutter and cord-shavers who are choosing not to subscribe to traditional cable and are watching more TV via digital streaming and are seen as a potential source of revenue growth as traditional distribution declines. Time Warner has labeled the OTT business as potentially generating hundreds of millions in revenue.

Based on the number of downloads, and comparing the rate to OTT leader Netflix, Nathanson dubs NBO Now fairly successful compared to Netflix, which had about three times as many downloads as HBO Now during the months since HBO Now launched.

Another analyst, Richard Greenfield of BTIG Research, in June estimated that HBO Now had more than 850,000 subscribers and could have as many as a million.

Dish’s Sling TV has between 100,000 to 200,000 subs and Viacom’s Noggin between 160,000 to 320,000, Nathanson estimates.

“We are the first ones to admit that these estimates are very rough and only should be used as ballpark numbers,” Nathanson says in his report. “We will see if any of these companies shed additional light on the success of their apps next week” as media companies report second-quarter earnings.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.