AT&T added 2.7 million new customers to HBO and HBO Max in the first quarter. This is a boost for the company’s new streaming endeavors in an increasingly crowded area.

The company’s WarnerMedia division, which also includes HBO, had sales of $ 8.5 billion for the period. This is a 9.8 percent increase over the previous year, when theater and advertising revenues fell during the pandemic. Under the direction of Jason Kilar, WarnerMedia also owns the cable networks CNN and Turner and the film studios Warner Bros.

HBO is the cornerstone of AT & T’s media strategy, and the company sees HBO Max as a way to deter its cellular customers from fleeing and is offering the streaming platform to its phone customers at a discount.

In its report for the first quarter of the year, AT&T stopped disclosing the number of active HBO Max users, thereby masking how many people are actually tuned to the new streaming service.

AT & T had a total of 44.1 million subscribers to HBO and HBO Max in the USA at the end of March, an increase of 2.7 million compared to the previous quarter. Before it stopped breaking out of HBO Max subscriptions in December, there were 41.5 million subscribers as of December: 17.1 million for the streaming service, 20 million for HBO over cable and the rest of hotels or other offerings.

HBO Max most likely made the profit for the quarter, which is remarkable given the competitiveness of the streaming universe. HBO Max is also the most expensive of the major streaming platforms at $ 15 a month. Netflix, which posted profits on Tuesday, continues to lead the way with 67 million customers in the US and nearly 208 million total.

Netflix’s dominance has declined, also due to new entrants in the market like HBO Max and Disney +. Netflix added four million new subscribers in the quarter, a little over 400,000 in the US.

Netflix has attributed the comparatively slow growth to the slowdown in production when Hollywood studios largely stopped producing shows and films during the pandemic. The company anticipated a more successful second half of the year as recurring favorites and highly anticipated films become available.

HBO Max most likely received a boost from an unorthodox strategy championed by Mr. Kilar: sibling Warner Bros. plans to release their entire line of 2021 films on HBO Max the same day they are due to hit theaters. The announcement rumbled across Hollywood, disgruntled agents and filmmakers who had lost important bonuses and commissions by shorting out the old theatrical release schedule.

Mr Kilar said the company will likely return to a more traditional sales plan next year. For the remainder of 2021, he’s betting on the film, which includes the recent releases of “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” and “Godzilla vs. Kong,” as well as the Friday premiere of “Mortal Kombat” to drive people to HBO max.

The company is also planning a global expansion of HBO Max starting June, as well as a lower-cost version of the service that will include commercials. The company has approximately 19.7 million overseas HBO customers whom it plans to convert into HBO Max subscribers.