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‘Friends’ tops HBO Max viewing, says WarnerMedia

Iconic sitcom Friends is the most-watched title on WarnerMedia’s recently launched streaming service HBO Max, the company has said.

The show, which was seized back by Warner after becoming a mainstay on Netflix, was the number one performing title on the platform, followed by the Anna Kendrick-starring original Love Life. (Kendrick actually has the unusual claim of being the star of multiple platform-launching originals in the past year, having performed as the lead in HBO Max’s Love Life, Disney+’s Noelle and Quibi’s Dummy.)

Warner also said that The Big Bang Theoryon which Warner reportedly spent up to US$1 billion to acquire the rights – was the third most popular show. Other popular titles on the streamer include comic book adaptation Doom Patrol and HBO series Perry Mason.

However in all of this it is worth noting that WarnerMedia has not revealed statistics, and third-party data on HBO Max or indeed most streaming services is hard to come buy.

In terms of overall viewing, Warner said that HBO Max is seeing 70% more time spent on the platform versus HBO Now (when compared to the previous platform’s January 2020 viewership) and that its users are significantly younger than traditional HBO subscribers – 23% of subscribers age 18-24.

In its first earnings report since HBO Max’s May launch, the company said that the premium streamer had about three million retail subscribers, and that 4.1 million subscribers had activated their Max account – most subscribers to HBO’s linear channels are granted access to the service at no additional cost.

However, AT&T CEO John Stankey said that many customers who are subscribed to HBO’s channel need to be better informed that they have access to the premium streamer. He said:  “We’re seeing more rapid activation with subscribers who are active users of the HBO digital offers, but we still have work to do to educate and motivate the exclusively linear subscriber base, and we’ll continue to work with our wholesale partners to drive these activation rates.”

One hindrance to HBO Max’s growth has been a lack of availability on Roku and Amazon devices. In the case of the latter, the CEO publicly stated that “Amazon has taken an approach of treating HBO Max and its customers differently on how they’ve chosen to treat other services and their customers.”

It is believed that both Amazon and Roku want HBO Max to sit within their respective channels section, while AT&T is pushing for HBO Max to be its own standalone app.