HBO Max India Launch Uncertain, Subscriber Growth Expected from Lower ARPU Regions

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WarnerMedia, a leading media and entertainment company regularly conducts market research with its users to “test a wide range of possible offers and price points” for its services, says its spokesperson. In response to a query sent by TelecomTalk, a WarnerMedia spokesperson said that the reports suggesting a potential launch of HBO Max in India “do not reflect any current plans.” HBO Max, a streaming service run by WarnerMedia, is currently available in the United States and select territories across Latin American and the Caribbean.

HBO Max India Plans Under Evaluation

OnlyTech, a telecom focused site on Tuesday said that the market research firm, Nepa conducted a pre-launch survey for HBO Max highlighting potential price points for the streaming service. The publication highlighted three monthly plans priced at Rs 69, Rs 139 and Rs 329, with special schemes for users purchasing yearly subscriptions.

“We routinely conduct market research with consumers in countries around the world that test a wide range of possible offers and price points for our services,” WarnerMedia spokesperson told TelecomTalk. “Those being reported that suggest a future launch of HBO Max in India are amongst many being tested and evaluated and do not reflect any current plans.”

While it is still possible for WarnerMedia to roll out HBO Max in India at a later date, it has to be noted that the company started its global expansion only in June, 2021. The streaming service was initially launched in the United States in May, 2020. However, the company announced that HBO Max will be available in 39 territories across Latin America and the Caribbean region including Argentina, Barbados and Jamaica only in late June, 2021.

Crucially, WarnerMedia on Wednesday announced that HBO Max will be available in six European countries including Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Andorra from October 26, 2021. The company also said that more European countries including Bulgaria, Croatia and Czech Republic will receive access to HBO Max in 2022.

HBO Max is currently home to over 13,000 hours of content including Friends, the Harry Potter saga and the Game of Thrones. The streaming service hosts content from HBO, Warner Bros., DC, Cartoon Network and Turner Classic Movies. In India, the HBO content including Game of Thrones is already available on Disney+ Hotstar, the streaming service run by the Walt Disney Company.

WarnerMedia Focused on Latin America for Now

In its second quarter earnings call, Pascal Desroches, chief financial officer at AT&T, the company currently behind WarnerMedia, said that HBO and HBO Max global user base crossed over 6.7 crores. Desroches in the earnings call in late July said that the company has over 4.7 crores HBO Max and HBO users in the US.

“HBO Max continues to exceed our expectation,” Desroches said. “Having surpassed the lower end of our global subscriber target six months ahead of plan, we are now raising our expectations to 70 million to 73 million global subscribers by the end of the year.”

Desroches said that the HBO Max expansion to the Latin American and Caribbean markets “sets us up for additional customer growth” as “addressable market expands” for the company.

“We're seeing good momentum, especially in our Latin American markets,” Desroches said. “We expect most of our subscriber growth for the remainder of the year to be from lower ARPU subscribers in that region.”

Crucially, the chief financial officer at AT&T said that the HBO Max average revenue per user (ARPU) in the US was a “little less than” US$12, which roughly translates to Rs 882.

“To lean into HBO Max fast start in Latin America, we may push back our launch in some European markets until early 2022,” Desroches said.

In comparison, streaming giant Netflix finished its second quarter with over 20.9 crores paid users, with its ARPU for US and Canada at US$14.54, roughly translating to Rs 1069. Further, Disney+ finished its second quarter with over 11.6 crores users, with its overall ARPU including India and other global regions at US$4.16, roughly translating to Rs 305.

Reported By

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Born in India, Yogesh loves to travel and has lived in multiple countries including New Zealand and Canada. His bylines can be found on various newspapers and blogs throughout the world, including Vancouver Sun, Surrey Now-Leader, Daily Hive , Investing News Network and Rach F1.

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