No entrant in the so-called streaming wars has navigated a more chaotic first year than HBO Max. WarnerMedia’s prized new streaming service launched one year ago today. Since then, it has become the center for fights over Hollywood’s future, the cornerstone for a massive media merger, and a key component in the debate over whether new streaming services can compete against Netflix. That’s a lot of pressure for a new product, especially one that came out during the pandemic at a time when nothing in the world made sense.
HBO Max came alive during unprecedented times, leaning into the chaos of it all. Yes, that includes everything with AT&T and Discovery, but more on that in a second.
The biggest question readers might have one year on is whether or not HBO Max is working. Objectively, it is growing. HBO Max has continued to add subscribers every quarter. HBO Max launched with nearly three million new customers buying HBO Max directly (these were once referred to as retail customers) and 4.1 million total activations (this refers to people who installed the streaming service but already had HBO accounts).
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