HBO Max Gets a Boost From Theatrical Films: Hub Study

Wonder Woman 1984
Theatrical movies like 'Wonder Woman 1984' are giving consumer a big reason to subscribe to HBO Max (Image credit: WarnerMedia)

HBO Max is getting a boost from WarnerMedia’s decision to release its 2021 film slate simultaneously in both theaters and on the streaming service, according to new research from Hub Entertainment.

According to Hub, HBO Max increased its share of new streaming video signups to 13% in December--when the company announced its plans to stream Wonder Woman 1984--from 7% in November.

Hub said that among those who added HBO Max in December, 19% said they signed up to watch movies. Just 3% said that in November. And 12% specifically said they signed up to see "theatrical" movies.

Also Read: HBO Max Latin America Launches Set for June

Hub said that Disney Plus’ share of new signups was flat in December at 21%, which is still higher than HBO Max. 

Disney in December held an event for analysts spelling out its plans to roll out tons of new original series for Disney Plus.

Also Read: Disney Plus Subs Rise to 94.9 Million as Profit Drops

The word got through to subscribers. According to Hub, 13% of people who signed up for Disney Plus said they wanted to watch exclusive franchise content. (December was the first month Hub asked that question.) At the same time 12% said they wanted to watch movies, up from 2% Disney Plus carried Pixar’s Soul in December.

“It of course remains to be seen whether Warner’s or Disney’s December decisions are precursors of a permanent shift in how movie and franchise content is distributed, or whether theaters will once again reign supreme as the exclusive home for first-run films," Hub said. “But while industry analysts wait for that to play out, pandemic-fatigued Americans—spending more time than ever at home—are already happily endorsing this new streaming normal.”

HBO Max Hub Entertainment

(Image credit: Hub Entertainment)
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.