WarnerMedia, recognizing the strong possibility for consumer confusion around its app ecosystem, has announced that it is shutting down its HBO Go streaming app on “primary platforms” as of July 31st. The decision comes only a few weeks after the launch of its new streaming brand, HBO Max, while the former streaming product, HBO Now, has been rebranded simply HBO.
HBO Max is offered via monthly subscription for $14.99 or it can be freely used by HBO subscribers on cable networks. Parent company AT&T also offers it as part of some of its wireless, internet, and TV packages.
As we’ve previously covered on this blog, Warner has yet to reach a deal with Amazon and Roku, which could hold back adoption. Even if a deal is reached, Warner indicates that Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices will not be considered primary platforms, and users of these products will only be offered an HBO app, not the new HBO Max. These viewers won’t be able to access the wide array of catalog content.
Warner hasn’t revealed its HBO Max subscriber numbers, but when it comes to premium channels, HBO continues to hold onto a leadership position. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, more than a quarter of Americans subscribe to HBO, HBO Go, or HBO Now (at the time of data collection Max hadn’t launched). Moreover, the HBO audience tends to be quite affluent; Interpret data shows a direct correlation between household income and HBO adoption, with 50% of households earning $200,000 or more subscribing.