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    HBO Max Gains Traction in a Crowded Ground

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    AT&T added 2.7 million new subscribers to HBO and HBO Max in the first quarter, a boost for the company’s new streaming effort in an increasingly crowded field.

    The company’s WarnerMedia division, which also includes HBO, recorded $ 8.5 billion in revenue for the period, a 9.8 percent jump from the previous year, when theater sales and advertising revenue declined during the epidemic. Led by CEO Jason Killer, WarnerMedia also includes cable networks CNN and Turner and Warner Bros. Studios.

    HBO is the cornerstone of AT & T’s media strategy, and the company sees its mobile subscribers as HBO Max to prevent their mobile customers from fleeing while offering streaming platforms at a discount to their phone subscribers.

    In its report on the first quarter of the year, AT&T stopped disclosing the number of active HBO Max users, noting how many people are actually joining the new streaming service.

    Overall, AT&T counted 44.1 million subscribers to HBO and HBO Max in the United States by the end of March, a gain of 2.7 million from the previous quarter. Before HBO Max’s membership ended in December, it said it had a total of 41.5 million subscribers, with 17.1 million for the streaming service, 20 million for HBO over cable, and the rest coming from hotels or other deals.

    It is likely that HBO Max gained an edge in the quarter, which is notable considering how competitive the streaming universe has become. HBO Max is also the most expensive of the various major streaming platforms, $ 15 per month. Netflix, which reported earnings on Tuesday, continues to be the leader in the US, with 67 million subscribers and nearly 208 million overall.

    Netflix’s dominance is beginning to diminish due to new entrants such as HBO Max and Disney +. Netflix added four million new subscribers this quarter, slightly more than 400,000 in the US

    Netflix halted the relatively sluggish growth of the production downturn when Hollywood studios stopped making new shows and movies during the epidemic. The company said it expected to be more successful in the second half of the year, when favorite and highly anticipated films would be available.

    In the case of HBO Max, the streamer’s prospect was boosted by an unconventional strategy played by Mr. Keller: the sibling company Warner Bros. plans to release its entire lineup of 2021 films on HBO Max the day they are scheduled Appear in theaters. The announcement creates uproar throughout Hollywood, with angering agents and filmmakers who lose significant bonuses and commissions by short-circuiting old theatrical release schedules.

    Mr. Killer has said that the company is likely to revert to a more traditional distribution plan starting next year. For the remaining 2021, he is counting on the film Slate – including the recent releases of “Zack Snyder Justice League” and “Godzilla vs. Kang” as well as Friday’s premiere of “Mortal Kombat” – to drive people. HBO Max to help.

    The company is planning a global expansion of HBO Max starting this June, as well as a low-cost version of the service that will include advertisements. The company has about 19.7 million HBO customers overseas which it hopes to convert to HBO Max customers.

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