WarnerMedia scored a key HBO Max distribution deal with Comcast just as it launched in May. Nearly six months later, there still isn’t an app.
When HBO Max went live on May 27, Comcast’s HBO subscribers got authenticated access to the expanded service on other supported devices. The companies said they would work quickly to launch an HBO Max app for both the Xfinity X1 and Flex platforms.
“X1 and Flex bring our customers an unmatched depth and breadth of live, on demand and streaming entertainment, and we look forward to partnering with WarnerMedia to integrate the HBO Max app on our platforms alongside close to 200 other streaming services – all searchable with the award-winning Xfinity Voice Remote,” said Rebecca Heap, senior vice president of video and entertainment at Comcast Cable, in a statement.
Had to explain what HBO Max is to my brother and sister-in-law. Then they tried to sign up via Comcast but it is still not available through Xfinity. When they do, can I get a commission? CC: @jasonkilar— Joe Flint (@JBFlint) November 25, 2020
HBO confirmed that HBO Max is not yet available on Comcast Xfinity platforms. Comcast did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
AT&T said total domestic HBO and HBO Max subscribers exceeded 38 million and 57 million internationally, respectively. The company also said that HBO Max activations more than doubled from second-quarter levels. HBO Max is likely to see more positive momentum after finally reaching a distribution deal with Amazon last week.
Still, HBO Max is struggling with distribution. According to the Wall Street Journal, Max is available to approximately 25 million existing HBO subscribers but only five million have activated it. About 3.6 million people have signed up directly for the service as of the end of September but it’s likely that number would have been higher if HBO Max had a native app on platforms like Roku and Comcast, which has become a major aggregator of third-party streaming video services like Netflix and Hulu.
As HBO Max works on expanding distribution, AT&T is hoping new high-profile programming will generate buzz for the service. Casey Bloys, head of entertainment at HBO, told the Wall Street Journal that upcoming series “The Flight Attendant” could give HBO Max a hit with broader appeal than typical HBO series. In a bold move, HBO Max will also debut Warner Bros.’ “Wonder Woman 1984” on Christmas Day at the same time the sequel premieres in theaters.