Here’s Why HBO Max and Quibi Are Hurting

Jason Wolfson Streaming Wars

Last time we reported on the streaming wars, we were in the thick of a pandemic and streaming services were booming. Well that was almost two months ago and a helluva lot has happened since. Specific to the streaming wars, we had two major streaming services launch – HBO Max and Quibi. Now logic would suggest that the momentum for streaming services would be a massive benefit to these two largely funded services. However neither have started off well and it begs the question – have we reached a streaming saturation point?


The Skinny on HBO Max and Quibi


  • Only generated 87,000 downloads on it’s first day
  • Three different streaming names (Go, Now, and Max) cause massive confusion from existing and new customers
  • They didn’t have all their channels lined up when it launched service
  • Also the Barney purple?




What Does This Actually Mean?

COVID-19 increased the awareness and usage of many streaming services, and it also educated more consumers on the myriad of services available to them, the content they offer, and the pricing for each. What the pandemic has also done is forced most services to drop prices and offer free trials in order to capitalize on the increase in usage. The key here is that consumers are more aware of their streaming options.

So when new services launch, like HBO Max and Quibi, they must be willing to bend and appeal to these new buying habits. Or else they’ll experience the rough launches that they each did.

HBO Max stood firm on their high price point ($14.99/month) and that seems to have backfired on them. Layer on the confusion around the service and it’s reason enough for consumers to go elsewhere.

Quibi has a very specific niche – short-form content. In a world where social media platforms have dominated the short-form, UGC content space for years, does Quibi have a place? We’re learning that using celebrities doesn’t always equate to business success.

Consumers have wised up on streaming services, at least enough to make themselves dangerous and the services need to rethink their GTM strategies. For all of the upcoming services launching, it’s crucial to take the startup approach of continually re-evaluating whether you have product market fit and tweaking your GTM to reflect the needs of your buyers. The streaming wars are ugly and only the savviest will survive.


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