Friday, May 29th 2020

Content is king, execution is queen


In the media business, there's an old familiar saying that goes "content is king."  What the saying doesn't mention is that even a king needs to execute well to stay in power.

Earlier this week, we saw one of the perennial kings of content, HBO, launch its third (yes, third) digital streaming platform, HBO Max.

Prior to its launch on Wednesday, we flagged that our biggest concern was around execution:

"For example, will consumers even be able to internalize the difference between HBO Max and HBO Now and HBO Go?  Will existing HBO subscribers be willing to upgrade, if they first have to cancel their existing subscriptions to do so?"

Based on initial launch metrics, it appears these concerns were well-founded.

On its first day of launch, only 87,000 people downloaded HBO Max's mobile app. That's hardly 2% of the 4 million app installs Disney+ was able to book on its launch day back in November.

Part of this difference is probably explainable by HBO Max's premium pricing, which clocks in at $15 per month vs. Disney+'s $7. 

However, we think the majority of the delta may be attributable to execution issues. For one, taking an approach that involves having three different, confusingly-named platforms, each only modestly differentiated from the other, puts you on the wrong foot to begin with.

This platform confusion only serves to muddle consumer comprehension of the value proposition, which is potentially even more disastrous. 

A poll conducted earlier this month showed that consumers had little understanding of what content HBO Max would offer, with under 15% of respondents (on average) aware of several major offerings available on the platform, such as Friends.

For comparison, over 90% of those same respondents were able to identify flagship programs available on other, non-HBO platforms, such as Disney+ and Netflix.

Finally, for a major platform launch HBO certainly didn't make it straightforward for users to sign up. 

Depending on their individual cable provider or streaming device, consumers could either be automatically signed up for HBO Max, not signed up at all, or blocked entirely from downloading the app. 

In particular, any of the 80 million households using Roku or Amazon Fire TV streamers wouldn't be able to download HBO Max at all.

While these issues are solvable and may just be a matter of time, we think this initial performance highlights the importance of execution, which often goes overlooked for crown jewel properties like HBO.

While destination-worthy content is core to any media business, even the best content isn't immune to the roadblocks clumsy execution can create.

Back to Research ↗

Learn with titan

Investment articles and resources

Become the smartest investor you've ever been through straightforward, easy-to-read investment articles.

What Are Cyclical Stocks & How Do They Work?

Understanding the Different Types of Cryptocurrency

What Are Smart Contracts & How Do They Work?

What is a Crypto Wallet & How Does It Work?

Let's Get Started

Ready to become a client?

Create an account with us in two minutes.

Or scan to get the app

We're building the best investment platform, ever

Titan Global Capital Management USA, Inc ("Titan") is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). By using this website, you accept our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Titan’s investment advisory services are available only to residents of the United States in jurisdictions where Titan is registered. Nothing on this website should be considered an offer, solicitation of an offer, or advice to buy or sell securities. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Any historical returns, expected returns [or probability projections] are hypothetical in nature and may not reflect actual future performance. Account holdings are for illustrative purposes only and are not investment recommendations. The content on this website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute a comprehensive description of Titan’s investment advisory services.

Refer to Titan's Program Brochure for more information. Certain investments are not suitable for all investors. Before investing, consider your investment objectives and Titan’s fees. The rate of return on investments can vary widely over time, especially for long term investments. Investment losses are possible, including the potential loss of all amounts invested. The introducing Broker Dealer is Titan Global Technologies LLC, a registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC. Brokerage services are provided to Titan Clients by Apex Clearing, an SEC registered broker-dealer and member FINRA/SIPC. For more information, see our disclosures. Contact: 508 LaGuardia Place NY, NY 10012. Information provided by Titan Support is for informational and general educational purposes only and is not investment or financial advice. Check the background of these firms on FINRA's BrokerCheck.

© Copyright 2022 Titan Global Capital Management, Inc. All Rights Reserved.