The international rollout for WarnerMedia's HBO Max streaming platform is undergoing some major changes. The media giant said on July 22 that the European launch for HBO Max might be delayed until early 2022 as the company focuses on Latin America. AT&T, which is still WarnerMedia's parent company until the merger with Discovery is complete, said there are now 47 million HBO Max subscribers in the U.S.
During a morning call with analysts before AT&T released its second-quarter earnings report on July 22, AT&T CFO Pascal Desroches said the company would delay the HBO Max Europe launch until next year as it "leans into" Latin America, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Desroches predicted that most of the HBO Max subscriber growth for the rest of 2021 would come from "lower-revenue subscribers" through a Latin American version of HBO Max. The European HBO Max was expected to launch in the second half of 2021.
"The team did a remarkable job in terms of planning for this launch and making sure we put our best foot forward in terms of lead productions, but an incredible library," WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar told analysts of the launch in Latin America. "The tech and product works and it's a modern experience that we're very proud of, and finally the value proposition is a very strong one." Kilar did not give a subscriber number for HBO Max in Latin America, as the streaming service only launched there on June 30.
"It it was only two days [of Latin America], a really strong start," Andy Forssell, Executive VP and General Manager, WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer, told THR last week. "This coming quarter we will disclose a lot more once we have the first full quarter of operation, but I'll just say: The momentum is really strong out of the gate, and it's really hard to predict that, especially in a new region. How is the new content going to land? The response was fantastic."
While European viewers will have to wait a little longer than anticipated to use HBO Max, more U.S. users are enjoying it than expected. HBO and HBO Max added 2.8 million subscribers in the second quarter of 2021 alone, beating predictions from Wall Street, reports Deadline. HBO Max and HBO now have 47 million subscribers in the U.S. It helped WarnerMedia revenue surge 31% to $8.8 million in the quarter, compared to the same time in 2020. WarnerMedia also had success with Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat at the box office, despite both films being available on HBO Max for no additional charge.
HBO Max has 67 million global subscribers worldwide, so AT&T upped its goal to 70 million to 73 million subscribers by the end of 2021. AT&T also launched a $10-per-month tier for HBO Max, which includes advertising, in June.
In May, AT&T revealed that it was spinning off WarnerMedia, which will then merge into a new entity overseen by Discovery. The new company will be called Warner Bros. Discovery. The deal is expected to be finalized next year.