In lieu of official numbers,we’ve looked at the best data available on Zack Snyder’s Justice League’s ratings on HBO Max. HBO Max
Never before in the history of cinema has a second take on a box office flop generated more intense conversation and scrutiny than Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which arrived on HBO Max March 18. From the inevitable comparisons to the 2017 film, to the greatest beneficiaries and the biggest losers of this redux, the film has been at the very center of film culture this month. But is the Snyder Cut of Justice League an actual hit? That’s what we’re here to find out.
In lieu of official information on the film’s performance from HBO Max, we’ve collected all the third-party analytics data we could to better understand the new Justice League‘s success or failure. But remember, each dataset has its own unique pros and cons as a viewership and demand indicator. Without any first-hand revelations from WarnerMedia, our goal is collect information from several sources to see if a consistent, illuminating trend emerges.
ANTENNA observes transaction data on several million U.S. consumers (on a strictly anonymous, opt-in basis). Using this data, it can tell when people signed-up, when they cancelled, when they switched services, and so on. It’s not a picture of ratings viewership, but it does provide clarity into how successful a piece of content is in attracting new customers to an SVOD service. In lieu of traditional box office grosses, new subscription growth is a favorable substitute for the streaming era.
According to ANTENNA data, Zack Snyder’s Justice League drove a 2.3x increase in HBO Max sign-ups (March 18-March 21) compared to the previous four Thursday-Sunday periods. In the Snyder Cut’s opening weekend (March 19–21), HBO Max earned more sign-ups than during the opening weekends of The Little Things, Judas & The Black Messiah and Tom & Jerry but less than Wonder Woman 1984. Also, in its opening weekend, ZSJL earned more sign-ups than Disney+ did during the opening weekend of The Mandalorian Season 2 (Oct. 30-Nov.1).
For greater context, HBO Max has been growing incrementally, but not fast enough to appease Wall Street. The service had 17.2 million total activations overall as of Jan. 27.
The most important element to focus on in the streaming wars is churn. How many of these new customers will remain subscribed to HBO Max after one month without cancelling their subscriptions? The downside to the importance of churn is that we’ll have to wait a few more weeks to explore that facet, but there’s reason to believe high-profile new DC Comics content provides a decent retention rate. Per ANTENNA, Wonder Woman 1984 boasted a solid holdover rate following its successful release. On top of that, HBO Max’s overall retention rate in the latter half of 2020 was quite impressive.
Nearly a quarter of subscribers who joined Disney+ on Hamilton‘s opening weekend canceled within one month. Three months later, 59% of Hamilton subscribers remained subscribed to the service. For reference, 69% of Disney+ subscribers who joined in June 2020 remained subscribed three months later — compared to 70% for HBO Max and 77% for Netflix in the same time period.
WarnerMedia is sacrificing an estimated $1.2 billion in revenue by moving its 2021 theatrical film slate to a day-and-date release on HBO Max, per Variety. According to Stratechery, HBO Max generates a monthly average revenue per user (ARPU) of $12, which equates to $144 in annual ARPU. So to cover the estimated $1.2 billion in lost theatrical film revenue in 2021, HBO Max would likely need to add around 8.3 million new subscribers. The upside benefit of a subscription-based model, however, is the potential for recurring revenue, which is one reason why Wall Street gives tech-based streaming services so much more leeway than traditional media stocks.
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