Warner Bros Discovery ended the first half of 2023 with 95.8 million direct-to-consumer subscribers, down by 1.8 million on the previous quarter. It was not a large loss, but it broke a run of quarterly gains. Quarterly consumer revenue was $2.73 billion, which was slightly less than costs, producing a net loss of $3 million. That was an improvement on a loss of equivalent to 558 million for the same quarter the previous year. Meanwhile, Paramount reported a small gain in direct-to-consumer subscriptions to 60.7 million, narrowing its operational loss to $424 million for the quarter.

HBO, Max, and Discovery+ had 54 million subscribers in the United States and Canada at the end of the second quarter of 2023, with a further 41.8 million internationally. That was down by respectively 1.3 million and 0.5 million subscribers on the previous quarter. It was only up by 0.9 million and 2.6 million over a year. Max was launched in the United States on 23 May.

Warner Bros Discovery subscribers 2023 Q2. Source: informitv / company reports.

While the average revenue for an online subscriber in the United States and Canada was just over $11 a month, elsewhere it was only $3.65.

Quarterly consumer revenue was $2.73 billion, out of total quarterly revenues of $10.36 billion, with reported free cash flow of $1.72 billion.

David Zaslav, the chief executive of Warner Bros Discovery, said: “The important work we are doing to transform our businesses for the future continues to drive our strong financial performance”. He said the direct-to-consumer business, in the wake of the successful launch of Max in the United States, “is tracking well ahead of our financial projections”.

Paramount meanwhile reported that it had reached 61 million Paramount+ subscribers, up by 0.7 million in the second quarter. Direct-to-consumer quarterly revenue, which includes Paramount+ and Pluto TV, rose 40% over the year to $1.66 billion. Expenses also rose by 28% to $2.09 billion, producing a quarterly loss of $424 million.

Paramount+ subscribers 2023 Q2. Source: informitv / company reports

Total company revenue declined 2% to $7.62 billion, producing an operating loss of $250 million.

The Paramount portfolio includes CBS in the United States, as well as MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and Channel 5 in the United Kingdom and 10 Network in Australia.

Bob Bakish, the chief executive of Paramount, said: “In Q2, we maintained our focus on scaling our streaming platforms, maximizing our traditional business, and building a sustainable business model that will return the company to significant earnings growth in 2024.”