HBO Max has 28.7 million subscribers, but not all of them are actually watching yet

Illustration by William Joel / The Verge

HBO Max, the new premium streaming channel from AT&T’s Warner Media, said in its earnings report on Thursday that 8.6 million customers have activated their subscriptions to the service in the third quarter, bringing the total number of HBO and HBO Max subscribers in the US to 38 million — ahead of the company’s target of 37 million for the end of 2020 — and 57 million globally.

AT&T counts “activations” as well as subscribers, as many customers who already pay for HBO have access to HBO Max as part of their package, but haven’t yet activated that subscription and started watching. According to the earnings report, 28.7 million customers were eligible to get HBO Max at the end of the third quarter, but activations of HBO Max to date…

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