HBO and HBO Max reached a combined 69.4 million global subscribers in this year’s third quarter.
The total was up by 1.9 million from the 67.5 million reported for this year’s second half, and up 12.5 million from a year ago.
That put the services on track to reach their year-end target, which was increased to a range of 70 to 73 million, from 67 to 70 million, in July.
During AT&T’s Q3 earnings presentation on Thursday, WarnerMedia said it now expects to reach the higher end of that range, citing the strength of Q4’s programming lineup — which includes the new season of “Succession” and the day-and-date debuts of Warner Bros.’ “Dune” and “The Matrix Resurrections.”
The Q3 subscriptions total was up by 1.9 million from the 67.5 million reported for this year’s second half, and up 12.5 million from a year ago.
The gain came entirely from international markets, as the services lost 1.8 million U.S. subscribers compared to Q2, bringing the U.S. total down to 45.2 million.
The U.S. loss in the quarter, which resulted from WarnerMedia’s strategic decision to remove the HBO subscription from Amazon Prime Channels as of mid-September, was actually smaller than many had expected, given that the move resulted in dropping 5 million Prime Channels-based subscriptions.
WarnerMedia — which opted to sacrifice those subscriptions in favor of retaining control of subscriber data/relationships and avoiding Amazon’s revenue cut — recouped some of the subscriptions through a price promotion for its ad-free version.
During the earnings call, WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar and AT&T CEO John Stankey said that WarnerMedia’s merger with Discovery Inc., set to occur next year, will not impact existing goals, including international expansion plans.
Discovery and WarnerMedia are committed to reaching the scale necessary to compete in the streaming direct-to-consumer marketplace, which Stankey described as “an important foot race.” There will be no “pulling the foot off the accelerator,” he added.
In March, AT&T raised its 2025 subscriptions projection for HBO and HBO Max to 120 million to 150 million — up from 75 to 90 million.
There are no plans to release viewership data for the services, executives told The Hollywood Reporter.
AT&T as a whole beat analysts’ earnings projections, recording $5.9 billion, or 82 cents per share, in net income for the quarter —up from $2.8 billion, or 39 cents per share, a year ago.
Revenue missed expectations, declining 4.7%, to $39.9 billion, largely reflecting AT&T’s spinoffs of DirecTV and other media businesses as it shifts its focus to wireless and broadband.
At WarnerMedia, total revenue increased by 14.2%, to $8.4 billion, in the quarter, as a dip in ad revenue was offset by increased revenues from content licensing and subscriptions.
Subscriber revenue, driven by HBO Max, rose 14.7%, to $4 billion. Ad revenue declined 12.4%, to $1.4 billion, due to timing of the NBA season in the year-ago quarter and reduced year-over-year political ad spending, according to the company.
WarnerMedia’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization rose 16%, to $2.2 billion, in the quarter.