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International subscribers lift HBO Max in the third quarter

The latest earnings numbers are in for AT&T, and that means we get a new look at the state of HBO and HBO Max. It’s a little confusing, given that the two still exist side by side, often overlap, and generally serve to cause a state of confusion among consumers and number-crunchers alike. But the general take is this:

As of September 30, 2021, HBO and HBO Max had a global audience of 69.414 million subscribers. That’s up about 1.9 million for the three months, and up nearly 14 million year-over-year.

More on HBO Max

Dune on HBO Max.
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

WarnerMedia (the division of AT&T that’s home to HBO and HBO Max) reports subscribers a few different ways. In the United States, HBO Max actually lost about 1.9 million subscribers for the quarter. And on the non-Max side — that is, HBO accounts that don’t have access to HBO Max — WarnerMedia continues to slowly move the last remaining stragglers over, with those subscriptions down to a mere 30,000. (There were some 28.8 million legacy HBO subscribers in March 2020, just before HBO Max launched.)

Things look better when you take the international market into account, though not grossly so. WarnerMedia lumps HBO Max and HBO subscribers into the same bucket there, and added about 3.7 million subscribers over the past three months, and about 5 million in the past year. HBO Max became available in 39 countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean in June 2021, and it’s coming to Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Spain and Andorra on October 26.

Also worth taking into account is the release of Denis Villeneuve’s take on the sci-fi classic Dune, which is now available on HBO Max in addition to playing in theaters. We’ll have to see whether that has any impact on the bottom line, but it’s the highest-profile release HBO Max has seen in a while.

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Phil Nickinson
Section Editor, Audio/Video
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
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