HBO Max Dominates Q1 Subscription Adds, Total U.S. SVOD Subs Exceed 240M

Enjoying continued momentum from releasing new films in tandem with cinemas, HBO Max grabbed 14.4% of all new U.S. subscription video-on-demand customers, according to Kantar Entertainment on Demand data.

Amazon Prime Video was second, with 13.2%.

Paramount+ and Disney+ were nearly tied, at 11.8% and 11.6%, respectively, followed by Hulu (10.6%), Netflix (8.5%) and Discovery+ (7.7%).

HBO Max also attracted the largest share of new SVOD subs in Q4 2020, and has been among the top three gainers since its launch in May 2020.

In a quarter that saw the launch of Paramount+ and Discovery+, “it’s all the more impressive that HBO Max held onto the top spot in share of new SVOD subscribers,” Kantar points out.

In addition, HBO Max has seen its Net Promoter Score, a measure of subscriber advocacy, rise from 10th to second place since launch.

“This bodes well for both retention and word-of-mouth recommendation to drive future subscriber acquisition,” says Kantar, noting that subscribers specifically cite the number of new release films as a key catalyst to their increased satisfaction with the HBO Max service.

Paramount+ also showed strength, winning more than one in 10 new SVOD subscribers in the period, while Discovery+’s share was substantial given its “narrower focus on documentary and reality-based content,” says the report.

More than two-thirds (68%) of subscribers to Discovery+, launched on Jan. 4, cited the service’s ubiquitous promotional campaign as a key driver, while 40% cited free trial offers.

Disney+’s continued U.S. growth was helped by “WandaVision” and “The Mandalorian — the two highest-rated titles across the U.S. during the quarter.

Disney+ also saw net consumer satisfaction levels around the amount of original content it offers — a key measure for long-term retention — rise from +20% in Q1 2020 to +33% in Q1 2021.

Overall, more than 7% of U.S. households signed up for a new SVOD subscription in Q1, bringing total estimated U.S. SVOD subs to 241 million.

The average number of SVOD subs per U.S. household was 3.8 — up from 3.3 a year ago.

However, the number of households planning to cancel at least one such sub in the next three months also rose, to 24.9% — up from 20.5% a year ago.

Kantar’s data also confirms accelerating growth of users of ad-supported streaming services, led by the Peacock free tier and Tubi. And this research finds nearly half (49%) of Americans agreeing that they don’t mind seeing some advertising if it makes video streaming services cheaper.

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