HBO Max makes push to appeal to subscribers with young kids

HBO Max has been steadily adding subscribers, as the service finished 2021 with nearly 74 million, which was ahead of a forecasted 70 to 73 million from parent company AT&T.Top content such as Succession, a Sex and the City reboot, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Matrix Resurrections, and Station Eleven have attracted viewers to the growing platform, particularly adult consumers interested in HBO’s boundary-pushing content. While the service has a dedicated Kids and Family page, highlighted by Sesame Street and animated series like Adventure Time, most consumers do not associate HBO Max with kids’ shows.

Recently, WarnerMedia Kids & Family has been taking steps to change this perception. The company has acquired rights to popular shows Blippi, CoComelon, Lellobee City Farm, and Vlad & Niki to air on both HBO Max and Cartoon Network, shows that should be particularly appealing for parents of preschool aged kids. Additionally, Warner has expanded its partnership with New York Times best-selling children’s book author Mo Willems to bring more original content to HBO Max and Cartoon Network, extending its licensing rights to the Emmy-nominated Mo Willems and The Storytime All-Stars Present: Don’t Let the Pigeon Do Storytime! and Mo Willems Story Time Shorts!

By adding more content for children, HBO Max hopes to gain ground on market leaders Netflix (which just raised its price), Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+, all of which have an abundance of content for kids, and Interpret data underscores just how important family/animated content has been for Disney+ adoption.

“To achieve the high subscriber figures and compete at the highest level, streaming services must appeal broadly, offering compelling content to a wide variety of audiences,” said Brett Sappington, Vice President at Interpret. “Families with children are a highly sought-after segment of the streaming market. Not only are they much more likely to adopt subscription services than average consumers, they also are a highly appealing target audience for advertisers.”

These moves will no doubt be welcomed by parents already subscribed to HBO Max, but it’s hard to say if it will move the needle for those not yet subscribed. According to Interpret’s VideoWatch, just under one-third of parents with children age 10 and under in their house currently subscribe to HBO Max in the US, whereas that figure jumps to 44% for Disney+, 49% for Amazon Prime Video, and 52% for Netflix. That’s going to be a hard gap to close.