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HBO Max Garners Most New Streaming Subs in Q4, Kantar Reports

Wonder Woman 1984
(Image credit: WarnerMedia)

NEW YORK—Wonder Woman saved the day for HBO Max, helping the AT&T-owned streaming service earn the most new streaming subscribers for the fourth quarter of 2020, according to Kantar’s Entertainment on Demand Service.

After a slow start to HBO Max, the decision to release Warner Bros. movies the same day in theaters and on the streaming service appears to have helped draw in new subscribers. Per Kantar, 41% of new HBO Max subscribers said specific content was their key motivating factor for signing up, with “Wonder Woman 1984” the specific title for one in five of them. In all, HBO Max brought in 19.2% of all new streaming subscribers in Q4.

Still, 2020 belonged to Disney+. There was a total of 233 million new streaming subscriptions in 2020, 18.3% of which were for Disney+. Amazon Prime Video was second with a 17% share, followed by Hulu (13.2%), Netflix (12.5%), HBO Max (12%) and Apple TV+ (6.2%).

Netflix, the largest streaming service in the market, actually saw its share of subscribers fall in Q4 2020. Following flat subscriber growth in the third quarter of 2020, Netflix accounted for just 7.4% of new subscribers, less than half of what it made up in the first quarter of 2020. Kantar says that reasons for this lack of growth includes Netflix’s content slate, its recent price increase and a controversy over the film “Cuties.” 

Hulu, meanwhile, actually bested its sister service Disney+ in Q4, earning a 13.7% share of new subscribers compared to 13% for Disney+.

The other original big three streaming service, Amazon Prime Video, has remained consistent, in large part because of the increase in online shopping, which is part of its Prime membership.

Peacock, meanwhile, had a 4.4% share of new streaming subscriptions in Q4. While also offering an ad-free plan, Peacock users are made up of 35% premium subscriber, Kantar says, with customer satisfaction reports saying that people prefer the paid subscription version of the streamer.

Overall, more than a quarter of Americans (29%) are drawn to sign up for a subscription because of specific titles. In 2020, the most recommended shows on streaming were: “Ozard,” “Tiger King,” “The Mandalorian,” “Schitt’s Creek,” “The Queen’s Gambit,” “The Crown,” “Cobra Kai,” “The Boys,” “Stranger Things” and “Outlander.”

For more information, visit Kantar’s website