WarnerMedia is on a mission to replace all of HBO Max’s troubled connected TV apps within four or five months.
That’s what an unnamed WarnerMedia executive told Vulture, in a report on the faulty apps and the company’s determination not to let them sabotage Max’s momentum.
Combined HBO Max and HBO subscriber growth beat analysts’ expectations in the second quarter, rising by 2.85 million, to 47 million in the U.S. and 67.5 million globally. Over the past year, total subscribers are up by 12 million, including a gain of 10.7 million U.S. subscribers.
But WarnerMedia executives are disturbed by a series of app problems that, while not universal, have led to a flood of negative social media commentary in recent months. Example: a tweet that asked “What if the people who designed an app fxxxing hated their customers?,” was liked by more than 160,000 users within a week.
The problems have been worst for Roku device users: Many, though not all, have suffered repeated crashes, as well as slowness and freezes, while watching Max. Many Apple TV device users have experienced fast-forward, rewinding, playback and scrubbing issues.
The app currently has a rating of 2.8 stars in both the Apple Store and the Google Play store. (The latter is shown above, with one of the many negative reviews.)
The Apple problems have been mostly fixed now, while WarnerMedia told customers in late July that it’s “hard at work” on resolving the Roku issues.
The challenges stem from the Max app being run on a retrofitted version of the now-defunct HBO Go and Now services, rather than being built from the ground up — exacerbated by the integration of advertising in June for the launch of the new ad-supported tier, as well as multiple languages for international rollouts, according to the report.
Now, although it hasn’t yet been announced, WarnerMedia is prepping the imminent rollout of an entirely new app, with Roku and Playstation users first in line, and Apple TV users to follow by year-end. A replacement for the mobile/web app is also planned, by early next year.
While the look of the new app, which WarnerMedia has been developing since it acquired the Canadian video tech company You.i.TV last December, will be similar to the existing one, its performance will be “wildly better,” the executive told Vulture.