Competition in the streaming industry is fierce, leading companies to prioritize subscriber retention and satisfaction. A recent survey found that Warner Bros. Discovery's (WBD 8.42%) streamer, HBO Max, has the highest customer satisfaction among all streaming services. Here's why.
HBO Max launched in the U.S. in May 2020. Although the platform was initially run by its former parent company, AT&T, WarnerMedia's merger with Discovery transferred ownership to the newly formed company. The platform has grown into a strong rival to Netflix (NFLX -1.74%) and Walt Disney's (DIS -0.12%) Disney+ in just two years. HBO and HBO Max had a combined total of 76.8 million global subscribers in Q1 2022.
A report released in June compared the overall user satisfaction of the nine biggest streaming platforms. HBO Max, Disney+, Hulu, and Netflix ranked at the top, suggesting these services had the best-perceived value and content. HBO Max led the way in subscriber satisfaction with 92% of participants very satisfied with the platform, an increase of 2% from 2021.
Among the top-four streaming services on the list, HBO Max was the only platform to increase user satisfaction in 2022, while Disney+ stayed the same and Netflix went from 90% in 2021 to 80% in 2022. Netflix also fell from second in best user satisfaction in 2021 to fourth in 2022.
When looking at HBO Max's offerings against competitors, the service provides more value than its biggest rival Netflix. It offers members the choice between two monthly tiers: with ads for $9.99 or ad-free for $14.99. Both tiers have 4K streaming as standard and allow up to three simultaneous streams.
By comparison, Netflix's current ad-free tiers are $9.99 for one stream at 480p resolution, $15.49 for two streams at 1080p resolution, or $19.99 for four streams and 4K video quality.
In addition to fair pricing, HBO Max offers members a wealth of legacy titles from HBO's premium library and blockbuster releases, such as the latest DC movies. Both of its subscription tiers allow access to all 10 of Warner Bros. Discovery's entertainment hubs, including DC, Classics Curated by TCM, Studio Ghibli, Cartoon Network, Sesame Workshop, Crunchyroll, Adult Swim, Cartoonito, and Looney Tunes.
When surveyed for HBO Max's quality and variety of content satisfaction, the platform won out against all its competitors. The figures showed about 90% of consumers are pleased with the streamer's original series, about 85% with its library series, and more than 86% with its movies. Disney+ came in at a close second behind HBO Max, but Netflix was just over 75% with its original series, while its library series and movies hovered around 70%.
Additionally, HBO Max has taken a page out of Disney's book by attracting viewers with originals based on popular franchises. The original series Peacemaker, a spinoff of DC's The Suicide Squad, set the HBO Max record for best single-day performance with its finale on February 17 -- achieving a 44% increase in viewing over the premiere.
Meanwhile, HBO Max's library seems set to only improve with the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery. Rumors have swirled that HBO Max might be getting ready to absorb Discovery+ after European content changes. The move would add a large number of popular reality titles such as Property Brothers, Chopped, Pawn Stars, and more. Discovery+ also doesn't offer annual subscriptions, making it easier for the platform to merge with HBO Max.
Looking to the future
HBO Max's biggest hurdle in the near future is the launch of ad-supported tiers by Netflix and Disney+. The service will need to be willing to adjust its service accordingly, based on what the new subscriptions look like.
Recent data revealed that subscribers are currently more likely to quit Netflix in the first month than any other platform. Compared with the above data, Netflix has an uphill battle to climb before consumers view it as a good buy and subscriber growth turns around.
HBO Max and Disney+ offer such contrasting content, it stands to reason the two could be friendlier about co-existing in the market than with other services. HBO Max can take the reins on quality dramas such as Game of Thrones and its immensely popular Euphoria, while Disney+ entertains families with a library of nostalgic PG titles and action brands such as Marvel and Star Wars.
HBO Max has carved out its place near the top in an incredibly competitive industry in just two years. It will remain a strong competitor if it can continue offering quality content and value.