Jan 14, 2020

HBO Max will lean into mobile viewing

Photo: Consumer Technology Association

The HBO Max team is looking at ways to make the streaming service more mobile-friendly than some of its subscription video competitors.

Why it matters: If AT&T can build an app that can successfully leans into mobile, it may be able to capture an audience that Netflix and Hulu have intentionally been less focused on, at least to date.

What they're saying: "General entertainment SVOD (subscription video on-demand) writ-large has underinvested in mobile today," EVP & GM of WarnerMedia Direct-to-Consumer Andy Forssell told Axios on stage at CES.

  • "There are phenomenal collections of short-form. If you've got five minutes to burn, I think we've got to be aggressive enough to make that a real choice versus checking your Twitter feed or whatever else that may be."
  • "We are experimenting with things that are far more social more swipey," says Forssell. "What's a good way in five minutes or ten minutes to have a great experience?

What it looks like: WarnerMedia CTO Jeremy Legg says that the company is looking to break up the traditional "endless sets of tiles" that consumers have gotten used to on subscription video interfaces with highlight features and other clips.

Our thought bubble: The second-screen opportunity for a lot of HBO content is already huge, just think about how crazy Game of Thrones Twitter can be. But getting users to develop a mobile relationship with a streaming app will be hard when the app has to compete against Instagram and Snapchat, among others.

Go deeper: A new entertainment world order

Disclosure: Axios has a TV show on HBO called "Axios on HBO."

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