AT&T Says HBO, HBO Max Subs Grew to 44.2 Million in Q1

HBO Max unveiled during WarnerMedia's press day
(Image credit: WarnerMedia)

AT&T reported higher earnings, adding HBO and HBO Max subscribers.

HBO Max and HBO added 2.7 million domestic subs in the January-March quarter, raising the total to 44.2 million domestically, up from 41.5 million at year's end. HBO Max and HBO subscribers are up 11 million from a year ago. Movie titles such as Zack Snyder's Justice League helped maintain momentum set in late 2020 with the day-and-date launch of Wonder Woman 1984.

Global HBO Max and HBO subscribers rose to 64 million.

Also Read: Ad-Supported HBO Max to Launch in June

The company said direct to consumer subscription revenues were up about 35%. Domestic average revenue per HBO Max and HBO unit was $11.72.

Operating income for AT&T’s WarnerMedia was $2 billion, down 2%. 

WarnerMedia revenue was up 9.8% to $8.5 billion. Advertising revenue was up 18.5% to $1.8 billion, thanks mainly to the return of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Subscription revenue was up 12.6% to $3.8 billion.

AT&T is in the process of spinning off its pay TV business. The company said it lost 620,000 subscribers in the quarter and now has a total of 15,885 of what it calls premium TV connections. That’s down 14.6% from a year ago.

Also Read: Cord Cutting’s Worst Year Ever: Analyst

Video operating income rose 13.2% to $901 million, despite a drop of 9.2% in revenue to $6.725 billion. Operating expenses were down 11.9% to $5.824 billion.

AT&T’s consolidated first-quarter net income was $7.5 billion, or $1.04 a share, up from $4.6 billion, or 63 cents a share, a year ago.

Also Read: HBO Max Needs Subscriber Bump to Make Movie Strategy Work 

Revenue rose 2.7% to $43.9 billion.

For 2021, AT&T said it expects revenue growth of 1% and adjusted earning per share to be stable compared to 2020. 

“We continued to excel in growing customer relationships in our market focus areas of mobility, fiber and HBO Max,” said CEO John Stankey. “We had another strong quarter of postpaid phone net adds, higher gross adds, lower churn and good growth in Mobility EBITDA. We also continue to increase penetration in markets where we offer fiber broadband and we’re moving quickly to deploy more fiber. HBO Max continued to deliver strong subscriber and revenue growth in advance of our international and AVOD launches planned for June.” 

This headline was updated and corrected to reflect that the number includes both HBO and HBO Max subscribers.

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.