AT&T Boosts HBO Subscriber Target

AT&T raises its earlier forecast of global subscribers by the end of 2025 to a range of 120 million to 150 million.
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AT&T  (T) - Get Report said Friday that it expects to have between 120 million and 150 million global subscribers for HBO Max and HBO by the end of 2025, boosting its earlier forecast.

In October 2019, the company had said it expected to have 75 million to 90 million subscribers by that time frame.

Shares of the Dallas, Texas company were up 2.29% to $30.22 in early trading Friday.

AT&T said it also expects to launch a less expensive, advertising-supported (AVOD) version of HBO Max in the United States in June. 

AT&T sells both HBO, a traditional cable channel, and HBO Max, a new streaming service. HBO Max and HBO had over 41 million subscribers combined at the end of the fourth quarter, according to Bloomberg. Of that number, 17.2 million people had activated their HBO Max accounts.

AT&T said it expects to break even on HBO Max by 2025.

In addition, AT&T expects to launch HBO Max in 60 markets outside the U.S. in 2021, with 39 territories in Latin America and the Caribbean launching in late June, and 21 territories in Europe debuting in the second half of the year.

AT&T said that it plans to increase its fiber footprint by an additional three million customer locations across more than 90 metro areas in 2021. 

Many media companies are competing in the streaming space. On Tuesday, Walt Disney  (DIS) - Get Report said that its Disney+ streaming offering surpassed 100 million global paid subscribers just 16 months after its launch.

In the second half of 2021, AT&T expects to close its recently-announced transaction to move its U.S. video operations into a newly formed entity jointly owned with TPG Capital. Following the close of the deal, AT&T said it expects to de-consolidate the U.S. video unit from its consolidated results.

In January, AT&T reported stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and overall revenue as wireless and broadband network growth offset a drop in revenue in its WarnerMedia unit. 

The company booked a $15.5 billion charge on its pay-TV business, reflecting a consumer shift away from plugged-in cable and satellite content, including AT&T's DirecTV offering.