Analyst: HBO Now could already have close to 2MN subs


Michelle Clancy

| 03 August 2015

Leading media analyst MoffettNathanson says that HBO Now has managed to rack up between 970,000 and 1.9 million subscribers in the scant few months it has been available.

The over-the-top (OTT) standalone version of the premium cable service has been a success, according to parent company Time Warner Cable, which doesn't release specific subscriber figures. Nathanson said that he used data from Sensor Tower on iOS app usage to estimate the addressable audience, then set a benchmark using Netflix's subscriber numbers.

Using Netflix's iOS app downloads dating back to the first quarter of 2013, and comparing it to the actual number of subscribers, he arrived at a conversion rate figure that he then applied to HBO Now.

"We are the first ones to admit these estimates are very rough and only should be used as ballpark numbers," said Michael Nathanson, who noted that Nielsen's approach to TV ratings takes a very similar algorithmic approach.

He also examined DISH Network's Sling TV service, estimating that it has between 100,000 to 200,000 customers, and Viacom's Noggin SVOD platform for kids, which he said likely has a subscriber base of between 160,000 to 320,000 customers.

Nonetheless, Nathanson's peer/rival, Richard Greenfield at BTIG, took to Twitter to contest the findings. Greenfield said that he believes HBO Now to have around 850,000 to one million subs, and that the growth has been steady rather than surging.