AT&T’s first-quarter earnings were released earlier today. Its entertainment business showed some major growth in the first quarter. For the first quarter, the company said its total global subscribers for its premium TV channel HBO and streaming platform HBO Max, categorized under WarnerMedia, increased by 3 million subscribers from the previous quarter.
The first quarter which ended in March saw HBO and HBO Max close the quarter with 76.8 million total subscribers. The figure is up 3 million from the previous quarter and 12.8 million year-over-year. Domestic average revenue per user (ARPU) reached $11.24, up from $11.15 last quarter. AT&T said HBO and HBO Max domestic subscriptions got to 48.6 million as of March 31st. This is up 1.8 million from 46.8 million as of December, the end of the previous quarter. It is also up 4.4 million year-over-year.
Rival company Netflix had it sore in the first quarter. The company lost 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter, blaming it on increasing competition, halting its services in Russia, and password sharing by millions of households.
In the month of March, HBO expanded to 15 countries. This explains the subscriber gains in the first quarter. AT&T, however, said that WarnerMedia’s operating income suffered a 32.7 percent decline year-over-year to 41.3 billion. During its earnings call, the company said that “The declines in earnings at WarnerMedia reflect increase investments incurred in launching CNN+ and expanding new territories at HBO Max.”
AT&T also added that revenue at WarnerMedia which envelopes Warner Bros., the Turner network, and HBO, rose 2.5 percent to $8.7 billion in the first quarter.
“We’re excited about the potential for continued HBO Max growth as the service launches in more new territories. Warner Brothers Discovery is well-positioned to lead the transformation we’re seeing unfold across the media and entertainment landscape. And like many of my fellow AT&T shareholders, who own a stake in this new and promising enterprise, we’re excited to continue to watch their success and the value they create as one of the leading global media companies,” CEO John Stankey said in the earnings call.
In the quarter ad revenue fell 3 percent to $1.7 billion and was as a result of lower linear television audiences, the company said. Subscription revenues came in at $4.0 billion, up 4.4 percent and signaling how much HBO Max has grown. Content and other revenues stood at $3.1 billion, an increase of 3.4%, “driven by higher theatrical revenues, higher HBO Max licensing, and partially offset by lower TV licensing,” the company said.