HBO Max closed out 2021 with over 73M subs, ahead of its guidance

AT&T said that HBO and HBO Max ended 2021 with 73.8 million global subscribers, which put the streaming service past the high end of the company’s year-end guidance.

The company had previously forecast between 70 million and 73 million by the end of 2021 and had already neared the low end of the guidance by the close of the third quarter.

In October, the company said that HBO and HBO Max had reached 69.4 million total global subscribers and that the service had grown by 12.5 million subscribers year over year while domestic HBO and HBO Max subscribers hit 45.2 million, up 7.1 million year over year. AT&T at that point forecast around 73 million total HBO subscribers by the end of 2021 and stuck to its forecast of between 120 million and 150 million total subscribers by the end of 2025.

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AT&T said that December 2021 was the most-watched month for HBO Max since its official launch in May 2020, crediting new originals like “…And Just Like That,” legacy HBO series like “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” and “The Matrix Resurrections,” the last same-day streaming release for Warner Bros. in 2021.

HBO Max is hitting a growth spurt as it prepares to leave the nest as part of a proposed spinoff of WarnerMedia and merger with Discovery. Under the terms of the agreement, AT&T would receive $43 billion in a combination of cash, debt securities and WarnerMedia’s retention of certain debt. AT&T’s shareholders would receive stock representing 71% of the new company and Discovery shareholders would own 29% of the new company. Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav will lead the proposed new company, which will be named Warner Bros. Discovery.

When AT&T and Discovery, Inc. first announced the transaction in May, the companies provided a mid-2022 timeline for the expected closure. But in November, AT&T CFO Pascal Desroches said that his company now believes the deal will wrap up in the first half of 2022.