HBO Max to launch in 60 countries by end of 2021 and introduce AVOD service, ups subscriber goal

HBO Max has outlined more details about its global roll-out and upcoming AVOD service while also revealing a new competition format commission with Fremantle, with the AT&T-owned streamer now predicting it will secure up to 150 million subscribers worldwide by 2025.

The streamer, which launched into the hugely competitive US SVOD landscape last year, said it would launch in 60 countries outside of the US this year including 21 countries in Europe, where the streamer will arrive during the second half of 2021. Details of the territories are yet to be confirmed.

HBO Max, which costs $15 a month in the US for non-HBO customers, said that it was also on track to launch in 39 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean by June and added that it expects to have secured around 70 million subscribers worldwide by the end of 2021.

Target pushing

The global expansion is expected to generate between 120 million and 150 million subscribers for the streamer and sibling pay network HBO globally by the end of 2025, AT&T added, up from an estimated 75-90 million target set in 2019.

The streamer’s current reach in the US is unclear, although AT&T said that during the fourth quarter of 2020 just over 17 million HBO subscribers had activated their HBO Max membership. That number is expected to grow rapidly over the coming years, with AT&T predicting that HBO’s revenues would rise from $6.8bn in 2020 to $15bn over the next five years.

The figures do not include countries where HBO has licensing deals, such as the UK and Australia. WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar, who has been embarked on a cost-cutting plan since starting in the role last year, also reiterated that the launch in Europe would see customers receiving a “near doubling” of programming.

He added that “because of our accelerated momentum”, he expected “to increase our investment over the next several years.”

Commissions & gameshows

The streamer’s planned output was hit hard by pandemic-induced production hiatuses, with WarnerMedia moving heavily into international acquisitions such as BBC drama The Trial Of Christine Keeler, Spanish-language series La JauriaAdult Material, Possessions and kids programming from Blue Ant International.

The Flight Attendant

HBO Max is also moving into unscripted and on Friday unveiled a first season order for Fremantle’s comedy format Tattletales, which brings together celebrity couples to reveal insights about their relationships through challenges and games.

It’s being produced by Ayesha Curry’s Sweet July Productions and her husband Stephen’s Unanimous Media, and will join fellow unscripted formats such as cookery competition show Baketopia, which is set to launch 25 March. The format is from US-based B17 Entertainment, which is also producing competition series Craftopia.

Setting an AVOD date

The streamer’s AVOD service in the US, meanwhile, is expected to be rolled out in June although prices have not yet been revealed.

The details were revealed ahead of AT&T’s annual report, with CEO John Stankey adding that the streamer’s subs numbers were two years ahead of forecast.

“For perspective, we added more HBO Max and HBO US subscribers in 2020 than we did in the 10 years before that combined,” he added.

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