HBO Max has just taken another major streaming step to solidify its position as the main competitor to Netflix and Disney Plus.
For the first time since its launch in 2020, the streamer was listed by name on media analyst Nielsen’s Monthly Platform Rankings, having taken 1% of total US viewing time in the month of 2020. ‘april.
That might not seem like a number to write home, but HBO Max had so far been confined to the “other streamers” category in the data company’s regular viewership snapshot. By comparison, Disney Plus and Netflix accounted for 1.7% and 6.6% of total US viewing time, respectively, in April, while streaming services as a whole broke the 30% barrier to the first time.
This latest statistic comes as no surprise. Cable listening consumed just 36.8% of total viewing time last month, and it doesn’t seem long before streaming becomes the dominant method of accessing entertainment around the world (the overall TV usage fell nearly 2% from March).
But HBO’s continued momentum suggests Netflix and Disney Plus won’t be the only services responsible for change when the time comes. The latter still has nearly twice as many subscribers as of this writing, although with Netflix customer leaks and HBO Max’s rapid expansion across European territories, streamer Warner Bros. Discovery has every chance of leveling the playing field in a few years.
In January, we published a story detailing the bumper year HBO Max enjoyed in 2021 — the service surpassed its year-end subscriber goal and more — but we also warned against expect him to repeat that same success in 2022.
Our skepticism came from fears that the global pandemic will drive a disproportionate number of subscribers to HBO Max in 2021, with Warner’s day-and-date release schedule making blockbusters like The Suicide Squad, The Matrix Resurrections and Dune available. to watch on the streamer at the same time as their respective theatrical releases (essentially making HBO Max a hotter property than it otherwise might have been).
Warner scrapped day-and-date movie releases earlier this year, suggesting HBO Max wouldn’t get a similar injection of subscribers in 2022 – but the streamer’s recent content slate continued to prove nonetheless. critically and commercially appealing.
Although not released simultaneously on HBO Max and in theaters, films like The Batman have still landed on the streamer after 45 days, while new shows such as Euphoria, Peacemaker and The Flight attendant rank among the most popular television releases of this year.
The HBO library is also destined to improve. The likes of Westworld season 4, Game of Thrones spin-off House of the Dragon and (we think) The Last of Us series should all hit HBO Max before the end of the year, while new episodes of Barry and Succession are also on the way.
Thing is, with all the noise surrounding the struggles Netflix is facing and the relentless coverage of Disney’s Star Wars and Marvel properties, it can be easy to dismiss the so-called streaming wars as a two-horse race. But HBO Max is in poor health, and the service could come and usurp one of its two biggest rivals much sooner than we think.