Advanced Television

Analyst: HBO Max launch an “opportunity lost”

June 1, 2020

Following the launch of HBO Max in the US last week, analysts at MoffettNathanson have indicated they are less than impressed with the new SVoD platform.

Michael Nathanson and Craig Moffett, in a conference call for clients, gave their reactions to the latest SVoD platfrom set to take on the likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon,

“It’s hard to imagine that it could have followed the imagined script more closely,” Moffett said. He assigned a grade of C+ to the launch effort, which he described as “chaotic with the mess of brands that they’ve got.”

Moffett did praise WarnerMedia for landing a key distribution deal with Comcast, but said the lack of deals with Roku and Amazon was a cause for concern.

Unlike Disney which planned its Disney+ service around five major pillars (Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Nat Geo), HBO Max is more a mishmash of HBO, DC, AdultSwim, Crunchyroll, TCM, Studio Ghibli, Cartoon Network, Sesame Street, Looney Tunes, Harry Potter and others. Moffet said: “The brands don’t resonate the same way because they aren’t as clear.”

Nathanson described it as an “opportunity lost” thus far, in a quote carried by Deadline. There is a “lack of new, buzzworthy content” on the platform, he added. “Pricing is high, the buzz is not there.” Although he did note that the Covid-19 pandemic was partly responsible for this – including the postponement of the much-hyped Friends reunion special and the Gossip Girl reboot.

Meanwhile, Bloomberg has reported that the HBO Max app saw 90,000 mobile downloads on day 1. For comparison, Disney+ had 4 million first-day downloads, whilst Quibi had over 300,000.

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