HBO Now's Subscriber Count Off To Slower Start
On Wednesday, Time Warner Inc (NYSE: TWX)'s HBO pulled back the curtain on its HBO Now streaming service, and while the numbers may be smaller than analysts expected, it's important to note it is also just a start.
HBO CEO Richard Plepler revealed that HBO Now has 800,000 paying subscribers since the service launched back in April. Many expected the $14.99 priced product to reach at least 1 million customers, with some expecting double that estimate.
Plepler was quick to stress that 800,000 is a solid base to build on, and the network is working on a number of exclusives that should drive subscriptions. While many have been quick to call HBO Now a flop, it's not unreasonable to think when Jon Stewart, Bill Simmons and VICE Media's new content starts to hit the service over 2016, investors will see a spike in customers.
What's also lost in here is that HBO Now isn't even a year old and it still isn't available through PlayStation and Xbox devices (as its HBO Go counterpart is). Many may also remember HBO Now was a Apple TV exclusive for the three months of its existence, which likely shrunk the first frame results.
By comparison, Dish Network's Sling TV, which launched in February 2015, announced in November it hadn't topped the 400,000 mark. Realistically, the $20/month service may be better barometer for shareholders than a behemoth like Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), which boasts over 75 million subscribers at a lower price point.
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