HBO Max will focus on its domestic launch before thinking internationally

At launch, AT&T will offer HBO Max to the approximately 10 million HBO subscribers on AT&T distribution platforms, at no additional charge. (HBO)

HBO Max, AT&T’s expanded subscription streaming service, is scheduled to launch in May. The company said the initial focus will be on growing the product domestically.

AT&T CFO John Stephens, speaking this week at a Deutsche Bank conference, said HBO Max initially will be  concerned with expanding on the domestic demographics covered by HBO.

“Certainly, it will be basically a domestic product, I would expect, for the launch and going forward, where you'll see us try to get our existing HBO customers to utilize it, expand into other non-HBO customers and expand it through bundling with our other products and services. And expect next year, we'd move towards an AVOD product, an advertising-assisted product to provide the affordability of the product into more people by the use of advertising and supplementing it so that, if you will, we're still generating the revenue, but it doesn't have to necessarily come out of the consumers' pocket,” Stephens said.

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After that, he said AT&T will begin focusing on expanding internationally and potentially adding live TV elements to HBO Max. The company wants to have 50 million domestic subscribers and 75-90 million premium subscribers by year-end in 2025 across the U.S., Latin America and Europe.

RELATED: HBO Max lands first distribution deal with YouTube TV

At launch, AT&T will offer HBO Max to the approximately 10 million HBO subscribers on AT&T distribution platforms, at no additional charge. HBO Now direct-billed users who subscribe directly through will also have access to HBO Max. AT&T customers on premium video, mobile and broadband services will be offered bundles with HBO Max included at no additional charge.

Stephens said that AT&T is continuing to work on distribution agreements with HBO’s existing MVPD and virtual MVPD partners but that, beside the recently announced deal with YouTube TV, the company hasn’t signed any other agreements.

“We continue to work with others. We feel like it would be a positive for all of us to have those capabilities, but I don't have anything to announce today… so I'll leave it at that. We're still positive and still working hard on it, but I don't have any to announce,” Stephens said.

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