AT&T’s WarnerMedia signed a major distribution deal with Comcast, the leading cable provider in America, to bring the newly launched HBO Max streaming service to Comcast’s Xfinity X1 video package and Flex, a video platform that is free for Comcast subscribers. The deal was finalized only hours after HBO Max’s launch, and it brings WarnerMedia a step closer to its goal of 90 million subscribers by 2025.
While the addition of Comcast is significant – they have 20.8 million total video customers – HBO Max has taken flak for its lack of 4K HDR streaming support and for skipping out on Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices. These streaming devices are incredibly popular for viewers who have “cut the cord” in recent years.
According to Interpret’s New Media Measure quarterly survey, while 23% of US households subscribe to HBO, WarnerMedia is missing a big opportunity to reach more than 40% of streaming device owners. Interpret’s data shows that 19% of households own either Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV stick, and 19% own a Roku TV or Roku streaming stick. Roku, which Deadline reports reaches 40 million US households, is at least talking to WarnerMedia about reaching a deal. HBO Max still has much to prove in an increasingly crowded space that has seen the likes of Disney+, Apple TV+, Peacock and Quibi launch recently as challengers to Netflix, Hulu and others.