With the launch of the HBO Max streaming service, WarnerMedia encountered mass confusion in the market.
Despite the company’s huge promotional campaign, consumers struggled to understand HBO Max. Some have wondered how HBO’s latest offering – which debuted on May 27 – was different from the three previous versions of the premium television network known for “Game of Thrones,” “Succession,” “The Wire,” and ” The Sopranos ”.
WarnerMedia, owned by telecommunications giant AT&T, acknowledged the problem on Friday and said it would take action to end the confusion. The company plans to shut down its HBO Go app by July 31 and drop the HBO Now brand.
HBO Now, which has over 10 million subscribers, will simply be called HBO.
“Now that HBO Max has been launched and is widely distributed, we can make significant changes to our application offering in the United States,” WarnerMedia said in a statement. “We will end our HBO Go service in the United States”
The company said that “existing HBO Now subscribers will have access to HBO” through an app called HBO.
And for HBO Go users: “Most customers who traditionally used HBO Go to stream HBO programming can now do so through HBO Max, which provides access to all HBOs and more,” WarnerMedia said.
In the future, there will be two platforms: HBO and HBO Max.
WarnerMedia has not disclosed how many users have signed up for HBO Max, its new $ 14.99-per-month streaming service, making it unclear whether the confusion has hurt subscription sales. The service was launched amid the COVID-19 pandemic and just as protests over George Floyd’s death turned into a historic multicultural movement.
The Sensor Tower company, which analyzes app economics, estimates that there have been nearly 2 million downloads of the HBO Max app in the United States since the service launched. On launch day, HBO Max replaced the company’s previous app, HBO Now. But Sensor Tower’s research doesn’t indicate how many existing HBO customers have switched to HBO Max.
AT&T plans to release subscriber numbers in its second quarter earnings call next month.
Disney + attracted 10 million subscribers on its first day last November, but WarnerMedia expected HBO’s signups to be much lighter, as HBO already has over 30 million customers.
HBO Max is a streaming platform that offers HBO programming, including its library of award-winning shows and additional content from Studio Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, DC, TBS, and Cartoon Network, as well as a handful of Max Originals. It contains a host of old TV shows including “Friends”, “The West Wing” and “The Big Bang Theory”, as well as movies such as the Harry Potter franchise, “Wonder Woman”, “Citizen Kane” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
WarnerMedia used HBO to brand its new service because HBO has long been the benchmark for premium television. But trying to hold on this quality patina while also reaching out to a larger subscriber base, the company scrambled its message.
Over the years there has been various incarnations of HBO to respond to changes in viewing behavior. HBO, the premium TV channel, launched in 1972 and available to pay TV customers.
HBO Go was launched in 2010 to give pay TV customers and Amazon Prime members the ability to access HBO shows on smart TVs and mobile devices. Five years later, HBO Now debuted as a standalone streaming service offering HBO series, specials, and movies. It targeted subscribers who had high-speed Internet access but not a pay-TV package.