AT&T said Wednesday that HBO and HBO Max finished 2021 with 73.8 million global subscribers, beating the company's earlier guidance, which suggested HBO would end the year with between 70 million and 73 million customers.
The revelation was made in an 8-K filing AT&T made to the SEC.
Separately, HBO parent WarnerMedia put out a press release touting December as HBO Max's most watched month since the subscription streaming iteration of HBO launched in May 2020.
WarnerMedia didn't release specific metrics, but it did tout a big HBO Max platform for day-and-date theatrical movie release The Matrix: Resurrections, as well as audience growth for original series The Sex Lives of College Girls, Succession, And Just Like That and Curb Your Enthusiasm.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter Wednesday, soon-to-be-outgoing WarnerMedia chief executive Jason Kilar attributed the stronger-than-expected growth to the launch of a partially ad-supported $9.99-a-month iteration of HBO Max earlier last year.
"We have seen very healthy adoption of that version of the service,” Kilar said. “And it makes sense because when a customer is empowered with choice, where they can either have a higher-priced ad-free service or one that’s more affordable made possible by the presence of thoughtfully executed advertising, I think that’s a really good situation for customers. So we are seeing a lot of consumers choose the ad-supported option, and it’s early days, it’s only been about six months. But we are quite excited with the response that we have seen and very excited about where it’s going to go in 2022.” ■
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