AT&T added 2.7 million new prospects to HBO and HBO Max within the first quarter, a lift for the corporate’s new streaming effort in an more and more crowded area.The corporate’s WarnerMedia division, which incorporates HBO, recorded $8.5 billion in income for the interval, a 9.8 % bounce over final yr, when theater gross sales and promoting income plummeted throughout the pandemic. Led by the chief govt Jason Kilar, WarnerMedia additionally contains the cable networks CNN and Turner and the Warner Bros. movie studios.HBO is the cornerstone of AT&T’s media technique, and the corporate sees HBO Max as a method to hold its cell prospects from fleeing, providing the streaming platform at a reduction to its cellphone subscribers.In its report on the yr’s first quarter, AT&T stopped disclosing the variety of lively HBO Max customers, obscuring how many individuals are literally tuned into the brand new streaming service.General, AT&T counted 44.1 million subscribers to HBO and HBO Max in the US as of the top of March, a acquire of two.7 million from the earlier quarter. Earlier than it stopped breaking out the HBO Max subscriptions, in December, it mentioned it had a complete of 41.5 million subscribers, together with 17.1 million for the streaming service, 20 million for HBO on cable, and the remaining coming from inns or different offers.It’s seemingly that HBO Max drove the acquire within the quarter, which is notable given how aggressive the streaming universe has grow to be. HBO Max can be the most costly of the assorted main streaming platforms, at $15 a month. Netflix, which reported earnings on Tuesday, stays the chief, with 67 million prospects within the U.S. and practically 208 million in whole.Netflix’s dominance has began to wane, partially due to newer entrants like HBO Max and Disney+. Netflix added 4 million new subscribers within the quarter, with just a little greater than 400,000 within the U.S. Netflix chalked up the comparatively sluggish development to the manufacturing slowdown that got here when Hollywood studios largely stopped making new exhibits and movies throughout the pandemic. The corporate mentioned it anticipated a extra profitable second half of the yr, when returning favorites and extremely anticipated movies grow to be out there.Within the case of HBO Max, the streamer seemingly received a lift from an unorthodox technique championed by Mr. Kilar: The sibling firm Warner Bros. plans to launch its whole lineup of 2021 movies on HBO Max on the identical day they’re scheduled to seem in theaters. The announcement rumbled all through Hollywood, angering brokers and filmmakers who stood to lose out on essential bonuses and commissions by short-circuiting the previous theatrical launch schedule.Mr. Kilar has mentioned the corporate will seemingly return to a extra conventional distribution plan beginning subsequent yr. For the remainder of 2021, he’s relying on the movie slate — which included the latest releases of “Zach Snyder’s Justice League” and “Godzilla vs. Kong,” in addition to the Friday premiere of “Mortal Kombat” — to assist drive individuals to HBO Max.The corporate additionally plans a worldwide enlargement of HBO Max beginning this June, together with a lower-cost model of the service that can embody commercials. The corporate has about 19.7 million HBO prospects abroad that it hopes to transform into HBO Max subscribers.