HBO Max, the streaming service from Warner, is set to launch in May. Management recently announced a reunion of the actors from the wildly successful series "Friends", which debuted long ago in 1994. The series may have been popular, but the fact that HBO Max has to reach back so far for major programming for a service which will go up against industry leaders Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), Amazon Prime (NASDAQ: AMZN), and the new Disney+ (NYSE: DIS).
HBO Max has to compete with the well over 150 million paid subscriptions which Netflix and Amazon have. Disney believes it can have 60 to 90 million subscribers by the end of 2024. That make sense. The service has a lock on Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars films. It is also price at $6.99 a month well below its two larger rivals. Disney has taken effective control over Hulu, which has an estimated 28 million subscribers of its own. Hulu has been in business since 2007. Hulu's subscription prices is between $5.99 and $7.99 a month, also well below the market leaders.
The newest large entrant to the market is Apple TV+ (NYSE: AAPL). After a free trial, Apple offers the service for $4.99 a month. Apple has an unlimited budge to attack the market
There is another large tier of streaming services which includes Sling TV and Furbo.
HBO Max does have HBO's large library. However, it is up against such a large sea of competition that this will not be enough. The average number of streaming services Americans are will to pay for runs from 2.25 to 3 according to industry research. Two of those are taken up in many home by Amazon and Netflix because of their library sizes, years in the market, and the billions of dollars they spend on exclusive programs. Disney+ has already amassed such a large base that it is problem in third place or will be soon.
HBO is too late to market, and has too small a library to pull people away from services they already use. A "Friends" reunion will not help that. The new HBO service can't successfully launch into the industry.