HBO Max Tops Peacock in Viewer Interest Ahead of Streaming Launches

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HBO president of programming Casey Bloys speaks onstage during an HBO Max investor presentation on October 29, 2019.

Meanwhile, Netflix was cited as U.S. adults' most-watched service amid the coronavirus pandemic, a Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult poll finds.

Amid a novel coronavirus pandemic that has caused economic insecurity across industries, more consumers may have to make tough choices about what entertainment options are essential to their household, especially in the ever-growing streaming TV space. 

Within months, WarnerMedia's HBO Max, NBCUniversal's Peacock and Jeffrey Katzenberg's well-funded streamer Quibi will join a landscape that includes Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+ and CBS All Access. But among the services yet to launch, HBO Max may have an early edge with buyers. 

About 16 percent of U.S. adults say they’d be “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to buy HBO Max when it debuts in May, more than those who say they're likely to buy Peacock (10 percent) or Quibi (10 percent), a new Hollywood Reporter/Morning Consult poll finds.

For HBO Max and Peacock, the group most likely to express interest in buying the services was the 30-44 demographic. For Quibi, more respondents in the 18-29 age group say they are "very" or "somewhat" likely to buy the service than older age groups.

The poll, conducted March 27-29 among a nationally representative sample of 2,200 U.S. adults, surveyed viewing patterns amid social distancing and stay-at-home guidelines from state and federal government. 

In the battle for awareness among the new streamers, HBO Max appears to lead, with 24 percent of U.S. adults saying they’ve heard “a lot” or “some” about the service, which launches in May with a price tag of $15 a month. 

Meanwhile, 20 percent of respondents said they’d heard of the mobile-only Quibi, which has been on a marketing blitz — including a Super Bowl ad — ahead of its April 6 launch date. The service will cost $5 a month with ads, $8 for an ad-free option. 

And about 17 percent of respondents said they’d heard of NBCUniversal’s Peacock, which goes live on July 15 at a price of $5 a month for customers who don't already have a cable bundle or $10 a month for an ad-free version. 

Netflix was cited in the survey as U.S. adults' most-watched service right now. Some 35 percent of respondents say they spend more time viewing Netflix titles, while Hulu (10 percent) and Amazon (9 percent) were the runners-up and Disney+ (4 percent) and Apple TV+ (1 percent) trailed farther behind.

While the cost to subscribe to even the lowest tiers of five or more streaming services may be at least $45 a month, most Americans say they pay far less right now for streaming offerings. Some 56 percent of the survey's respondents say they pay $20 or less for all of the streaming services they currently subscribe to. About 7 percent of adults share a password for Netflix, followed by Amazon Prime (6 percent) and Hulu (5 percent).

Another question the THR/Morning Consult poll examined: Will the pandemic hasten cord-cutting as Americans look to shave costs, or temporarily slow it down as more tune in to traditional TV amid stay-at-home orders?

Most respondents seemed to be sticking with the services they have but not necessarily adding more traditional TV options. Only 10 percent of respondents said they’d be more likely to cancel their cable or satellite subscriptions right now, with 56 percent saying they’d be less likely to drop their cable bundle during the pandemic.